A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: December 2015

Turkey Soup aka What to do with Roast Turkey Leftovers

Turkey Soup aka What to do with Roast Turkey Leftovers

I was happy to have turkey leftovers from Christmas dinner. We had sandwiches and simple reheated plates with turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Now it was time for one of my favorites, turkey soup. First, the carcass goes in a big pot, with a few […]

How I Roast my Big-Ass Turkey

How I Roast my Big-Ass Turkey

There are reasons I got a 23lb turkey this year, really. Ultimately only having five for dinner wasn’t one of the reasons, but really, I had my reasons!  It’s really too long a story to tell here. Instead, I will tell you how I prepare […]

My Turkey and Sausage Dressing

My Turkey and Sausage Dressing

think everyone puts their own spin on dressing (or stuffing, whatever you want to call it).  And they probably all come about the same way mine did. What did I like about other dressings I had?  And, what did I have in my kitchen?!
I used to make the standard herb and bread stuffing from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (when I made it at all).  Then I had a stuffing that had sausage in it, and I liked that. Then I had stuffing that had apple in it, and I liked that.  And so on.
Granny Smiths have a tartness that I like. I grabbed a bag with one cup of chopped onions from the freezer, and I like to use Italian sweet sausage.
First I brown the sausage, then remove it from the pan.  The onion goes in, over medium, while I chop up the Granny Smith.
I sauté them in the sausage fat until soft, about six minutes.
The sausage and apple and onion mixture then get added to 12 cups of bread cubes. I also always have turkey wing meat leftover from making turkey stock for turkey gravy, so I add that too.
Although I then add ground sage and thyme, I’m pretty loose about it. I usually just add until it smells right. But for you I looked up a recipe and based on that, I added 1 tsp each of sage and thyme.  Then   1 stick of melted butter, and two cans of chicken broth, and then mix it all up.  Sometimes I don’t add butter. Sometimes I use homemade stock. Sometimes I use bouillon. This is not an exact science!
Into a 9×13 pan it goes. Wow, that’s a lot of brown.
At this point I put my pan in the fridge until I am going to cook my turkey.  Since I really only make this at Thanksgiving or Christmas, this makes sense. If you want to bake it right away, put the foil covered pan in the oven at 375 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake 30 minutes more.
But this is what I do:
After removing the turkey from the oven to rest, I change the oven temp to 375 Farhenheit and put the pan of foil covered dressing in the oven for 30 minutes.  (I also take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes in advance and let it sit at room temperature ). Take it out of the oven, uncover, and drizzle a cup or so of the turkey drippings over the dressing. Back into the oven for 30 minutes more.
I forgot to take a pic just out of the oven, but here is a pic of dressing being warmed up with gravy.

It may not be pretty, but it smells wonderful and tastes just as good.

To recap:
12 cups bread cubes
1 package sweet Italian sausage
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 medium onion (about 1 cup)
Chopped leftover dark turkey meat
1 tsp ground Sage
1 tsp ground thyme or thyme leaves
1 stick melted butter
2 cans chicken broth
Brown and crumble sausage; remove with a slotted spoon. Chop the apple and onion and add to the sausage fat in the pan. Sauté to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the sausage, apples and onions, and chopped turkey to the bread cubes. Next add the herbs and mix to distribute everything evenly. Pour in the melted butter and chicken broth; mix thoroughly.
Spread evenly into a 9×13 dish, cover with foil, and put in the fridge.
The day you bake it:
Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking and set the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Put foil-covered pan into the oven for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the foil. Drizzle about a cup of turkey drippings over the dressing and put the uncovered pan back into the oven for 30 minutes more.
The Woman’s Day Magazine Makeahead Turkey Gravy recipe.

The Woman’s Day Magazine Makeahead Turkey Gravy recipe.

My understanding is that this is their most searched for recipe. And for good reason. I discovered it years ago and never turned back.   Perfect gravy, and plenty of it. And all you have to do is heat it up for dinner time. It’s […]

Gingerbread Men for the Holidays!

Gingerbread Men for the Holidays!

My niece is now 31.  She still thinks I need to make her gingerbread men for Christmas.  And so I do. I got this recipe from my sister years ago, and she got it from her best friend.  Those are the best recipes, aren’t they? […]

Making bread cubes for stuffing

Making bread cubes for stuffing

I participated in a bread CSA this summer.  The bread was fantastic, but I travel a bit, and a fair amount of it ended up being frozen.

Turkey dressing for Christmas day dinner seemed like a good opportunity to use up all this bread. Surprisingly, I have never made my own bread cubes.  I usually just buy the cubes from the bakery.  So, naturally I went online, then I conferred with friends, then decided upon cubing them with crust on, and toasting them in the oven.
First, I sliced the bread in 1/2 inch slices.
Then strips.
Then cubes.
The oven was preheated to 300 Fahrenheit.  I spread the cubes in a single layer and popped them in the oven.
I stirred them every 5 minutes until they were very dry.  It  ended up taking about 20 minutes total, and I ended up with 5 sheets of them!
And I guess we will know on Friday how good they are in the dressing.
Fried Potatoes – No, not French Fries

Fried Potatoes – No, not French Fries

Between vacation then business travel, my kitchen has been without much activity for several weeks.  I’m back, and cooking again. But, we haven’t been grocery shopping in awhile, so I had to look in the freezer and pantry for inspiration the other day. Suddenly I […]

Granny Smiths and Roquefort – almost go together better than peanutbutter and chocolate

Granny Smiths and Roquefort – almost go together better than peanutbutter and chocolate

I love the combo of a Granny Smith apple and Roquefort. One of my favorite things is to just dip slices of the apple into Lite House Roquefort dressing. If I get crazy I make a simple salad, using iceberg lettuce. For this salad it’s […]

Vacation condo Scalloped Potatoes

Vacation condo Scalloped Potatoes

We were on vacation for a couple of weeks (thus the gap in posts).

The condo had a full kitchen, which was great.  But inevitably we ended the two-week period with bits and pieces of this and that.  We had a friend over for dinner that last night, and I needed to do something that was company-worthy, but also used up stuff.
The main was easy.  I made a tri-tip roast and had the Kosher Salt, Garlic Powder and pepper for the rub.  All I had to do was buy the roast.
Next up was a starch/side.  I had milk, butter, sour cream, flour, garlic powder, minced onions and some cheese.  So I bought some potatoes for $1.96.
I went to yummly.com, which is a great site where you can plug in ingredients and it will bring back recipes that use those ingredients.  The one I ended up with was from Daisy brand sour cream.  Coincidence?
I read a few other recipes and methods, though, and didn’t have the right kind of cheese, not really.  But the kitchen smelled wonderful as it baked, and it tasted really good.
First, I peeled the potatoes and sliced them relatively thinly.  This is when I missed my own kitchen and my mandoline or food processor.
I decided to parboil the slices for 10 minutes.  I’ve had too many potato dishes go awry when the potatoes weren’t quite done.
I didn’t have any onion, but I did have dehydrated minced onions from making the crab balls earlier that week.  I rehydrated some and sautéed the onions in the melted butter.
Next came a bit of flour and salt.  Garlic powder sounded like a good idea right about here, so I sprinkled in some garlic as well.
Whisked in the milk (and was happy I had the whisk I had purchased to make gravy for Thanksgiving at the condo).
And then the sour cream.   If I had grated cheese, probably gruyere, I would have whisked it in over low until melted at this point.
Earlier I had buttered the only casserole dish in the condo.  Now I put a layer of the cooked and drained potato slices.
Spooned over some of the sauce then spread it into a layer to cover all the potatoes.
And then a layer of provolone slices.  This would not be my first choice for cheese, but again, it was what I had left in the vacation condo!
I continued layering, ending with a layer of sliced provoline on the top.
Into the oven it went.  Coming out looking like this:
And this was our dinner table:
This is the recipe I followed:
http://www.daisybrand.com/recipes/creamy-scalloped-potatoes-330
In this case I was working with what I had, but I would make this again with a few notes.
1. Although I used dried minced onions only because I had them, I would use them again because they were minced more finely than I could probably do, and I think actually worked better than fresh onions in this case.
2. The recipe doesn’t say to use garlic.  But just a little bit really tasted good.
3. I used provolone only because that is what I had handy.  I would use gruyere, and melt it into the sauce, topping with some grated cheese.
4. I would definitely parboil again.