Family · Holidays · Humor

How to cook a turkey…with a smile!

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...
English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m back but you may see more humor, sarcasm and random topics above and beyond food. Understand, food is one of my passions, but so is laughter. When I saw this post on Facebook, it brought a smile to my face. While I don’t cook with a glass(es) of wine, typically, the humor of it all just got to me.

Credit:  Paleo Cupboard/Facebook

Don’t stress out about the holidays and cooking. It’s truly a time to be grateful for every precious moment we have on this earth. Look for the humor and blessings in every moment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Favorites · My Roots

Thanksgiving Turkey and Dressing

Turkey and Dressing baking the morning of Thanksgiving is such a sensory experience, bringing back fond memories of Thanksgivings past while creating new memories.

This photo of my Uncle George carving our Thanksgiving turkey in the 1960s while my Dad and Aunt Wilma watched (or snitched pieces of turkey) transported me back to the Smaha farmhouse and large family gatherings.

Uncle George carves Christmas turkey while Aunt Wilma and Archie watch 1961

Traditionally, my family made the dressing from only white bread. When I married, Karl introduced me to cornbread dressing and I’ve become a big fan. The texture and flavor of the cornbread are a great addition.

Roast Turkey and Dressing
Roast Turkey and Dressing

ROAST TURKEY AND DRESSING

1 bag dried bread cubes
1 pan cornbread, crumbled
Chicken or turkey broth
Chopped onion
1 egg, beaten
Sprinkle of sage & poultry seasoning
Celery leaves
salt & pepper

  • Put bread cubes and crumbled cornbread in large bowl and saturate with broth.
  • Add onion, egg, salt & pepper, sage & poultry seasoning. Season to taste. Add chopped celery leaves.
Turkey Dressing ready for the oven
Turkey Dressing ready for the oven
  • Make sure stuffing is moist!
  • Stuff mixture in and around the turkey or chicken.
Stuffed Turkey ready for the oven
Stuffed Turkey ready for the oven
  • Cover with aluminum foil tent until last 2-3 hours of roasting.  (Note for stuffing as a side dish, cook a minimum of 1-1.5 hours at 350 degrees.)
Garden · New Favorite

Bacon Swiss Chard Frittata

Gardening is an adventure.  This year, I planted several greens including Radicchio. Turns out the Radicchio was really Swiss Chard.  Bonus! Growing up our neighbor, Lucille, always made a Swiss Chard and egg dish and I so wish I had the recipe.  As a substitute I found this recipe and have enjoyed several breakfasts, warming a piece in the microwave each morning.

I quickly realized that I started with too large of a pan for the frittata so transferred the cooked ingredients to my Mother’s favorite pie pan where I added the Parmesan and then broiled the frittata.

BACON SWISS CHARD FRITTATA

6 strips bacon, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, wash thoroughly, stems removed, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 pound russet potatoes, cooked, cut in chunks
salt and black pepper to taste
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet, over medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain all but 1 tbsp. of the bacon fat. Reduce the heat to med-low, and add the Swiss chard. Don’t worry about crowding the pan, as the chard will quickly wilt down.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the greens are completely wilted. Add the garlic and pepper flakes; sauté for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and mix into the greens.
  • Pour in the eggs, and cook stirring for about 5 minutes, or until the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and finish cooking the frittata under a preheated broiler, about 8 inches from the heat, for 4-5 minutes, or until the top is browned and the eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving in wedges.
Recipe from:
New Favorite

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a summer favorite.  The key is to assure that the chicken is moist and tender.  I’ve always wanted to try a yogurt marinade and when I found this recipe, it fit the bill!  I marinated the chicken for about 4 hours and it was delicious. Next time I’ll try marinating overnight to see if the flavors are even better.

I served with another new recipe for Mediterranean Edamame Salad (post and recipe on Friday) and loved the combination.  The leftover chicken was great afterwards on green salad. Another new favorite for my recipe collection.

The original recipe called for pounding each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper, pounding to 1/2 inch thickness. Instead, I cut each chicken breast in half to achieve the same thickness.

YOGURT-MARINATED GRILLED CHICKEN

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)
2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for grill grate
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (2″) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

  • Cut each piece of chicken breast in half to achieve 1/2″ thickness.  Place chicken breasts in plastic ziplock bag.
  • Puree remaining ingredients in a food processor.

  • Pour yogurt mixture over chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat.  Marinate chicken in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high direct heat.  Brush grill grate with oil.  Scape excess marinade off chicken; season with salt.  Grill until browned and cooked thoroughly, turning once.

  • Top with more cilantro and serve.

Compliments of dashrecipes.com

For Mediterranean Edamame Salad recipe, check my blog on Friday, August 2.

Holidays

4th of July Cake…God Bless America!

The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a day of family gatherings, neighborhood parades and parties, and fireworks.  Hopefully we all take a moment to remember the true meaning of the holiday, celebrating our countries independence from Great Britain in 1776.

This year I was invited celebrate the 4th of July with a Barbeque on July 2 and decided to try this Flag Cake I have seen many times, but have never made.  It is easy, although not on my diet, beautiful and delicious.  Perhaps a new tradition for our family?

4th of July Cake

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix (Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
1 box strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 box (4 serving size) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/3 cup cold milk
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 9×13″ cake.  Cool completely in the pan for about an hour.
Pierce cooled cake with rok at 1/2 inch intervals.  In a medium bowl, stir gelatin and boiling water until dissolved.  Stir in cold water.  Carefully pour mixture over entire surface of the cake.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours until serving time.
In a large bowl, mix pudding mix and milk until well blended.  Gently stir in whipped topping.  Spread over cake.  Arrange strawberries and blueberries on top of cake to look like a flag.  Serve in immediate future.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator, loosely covered.
Recipe from: Betty Crocker 
Family Favorites

Salsa Chicken ala Crockpot

Salsa Chicken in the crockpot is a simple, hearty dish and perfect to serve for a crowd. You can easily modify the recipe to match your taste, adding more vegetables, hotter chiles, etc.

I’m trying to avoid simple carbs so I served over quinoa with sliced fresh tomatoes. It would be fun to serve the chicken in a buffet with a variety of serving options (outlined below) to allow the guest to make their own finished product.

SALSA CHICKEN IN THE CROCKPOT

2 pounds chicken breasts (if large, cut in half)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
7 oz. can diced green chiles
16 ounce jar of salsa
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
salt and pepper

  • Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add corn, beans, chiles and salsa.  Sprinkle with cilantro.
  • Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or 8 hours on low.
  • About an hour before serving, shred the chicken in the crockpot and let simmer until ready to serve.

  • Serve with fresh tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, or salsa as you like.
  • Serving options:  Use as filling in burritos or tacos.  Serve over quinoa, baked potato, rice or noodles.
Family Favorites · Holidays · New Traditions

Baked Ham…Crockpot Style

Easter and Christmas holidays call for a baked ham.  Easy-peasy recipes allow the host/hostess to enjoy their family and friends and this recipe, coupled with the crunchy potato casserole (March 29, 2013 post), make preparation easy.

My family doesn’t enjoy spiral sliced hams, honey-baked hams, but they LOVE this recipe.  The leftover ham makes wonderful sandwiches, too.  Typically I purchase a Butt Portion Ham, often available for $.99-$1.39 a pound, a true friend of the family budget.

BAKED HAM CROCKPOT STYLE

Pour 1/2 up water in Crock Pot. Wrap precooked 3-4 pound ham in foil; place in Crock Pot. Cover and cook on High 1 hour then turn to low for 6-7 hours or until ham is hot. If cooking a larger ham, cook 1 hour on high and 8-10 hours on low.

Cathy’s method: I follow the instructions above put typically have to cut a few slices off the ham to make it fit in the Crock Pot and . I start the process about an hour before bedtime and then turn to low and cook 12-14 hours. The ham is juicy, tender and delicious.

Adapted from Rival Crock Pot Cooking

Czech Heritage · Family Favorites · My Roots

Roasted Pork Loin … Savory Deliciousness!

Roast Pork was a staple on the farm, most often served with mashed potatoes, gravy and our beloved sauerkraut.  I don’t make it as often any more, but thoroughly enjoyed roasting this beautiful pork loin, prepared with olive oil and Bohemian Forest Rub from our local spice shop, Savory Seasonings.

SAVORY ROAST PORK LOIN

4-5 pound pork loin
olive oil
garlic salt
Bohemian Forest Rub (Savory Seasonings) or rub or choice

Pork Loin ready for the oven

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Rub Pork Loin with Seasoning.
  • Roast pork, uncovered, for 3 hours or until internal temperature is at 180 degrees.
  • Let roast sit for 10-20 minutes before slicing.
Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite

Hearty Minestrone…winter delight!

With the frigid cold this past weekend, it was the perfect time to make Hearty Minestrone.  My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me several years ago and it is a winter delight!  Pair it with a crusty, hearty bread, a nice glass of red wine and you can please family and friends alike.

This soup freezes beautifully!  With our busy schedules, what a treat to be able to have this soup on hand for those crazy, busy days we all have.  If you are gluten-free, eliminate the noodles.

Mmmm…making me hungry for another bowl of leftovers!

HEARTY MINESTRONE

2 pounds chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water
1 cup sliced celery
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
16 ounce can dark red kidney beans
15 ounce can garbanzo beans
16 ounce can pinto beans
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 small zucchini
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, sliced
8 ounce package kluski (homemade style) noodles

  • In a large kettle, combine chuck roast, 1 teaspoon salt and water. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until beef is tender.
  • Remove meat from kettle and set aside. Remove fat from broth by letting kettle cool in refrigerator and then lifting hardened fat off top and discarding. Break meat into 1-inch pieces and combine with broth in a very large stock pot.
  • Stir in celery, onion, carrot, tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, salt, oregano, basil, kidney beans with liquid, garbanzo beans with liquid, pinto beans, spinach, zucchini and sliced sausage.

  • Simmer, covered, until vegetables and sausage are tender, about 1 hour. Soup may be frozen at this point.
  • To serve, cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and add to hot soup. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian Bread.

Yield: 8 quarts

Adapted from Creme de Colorado Cookbook 1987

Czech Heritage · My Roots

Sauerkraut Soup

My Czech roots are precious to me and this week I enjoyed a hearty stock of Sauerkraut Soup.  This recipe was one of two recipes my Mother made and she was given this recipe by our dear Bohemian friend, Blanche.

I understand that many families serve a Sauerkraut Soup as a traditional Christmas Eve meal but I enjoy it anytime!

After the rich, sweet treats of the holidays, the hearty sauerkraut soup was a welcome change allowing me to walk down memory lane once again.

SAUERKRAUT SOUP

1 pint sauerkraut (add extra caraway seed if desired)
1 cup finely diced ham
1 quart cooked and drained diced potatoes
1 quart Milk (more or less)
chunk butter
1 egg yolk
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
salt and pepper
dill weed garnish (optional)

  • Put enough water on sauerkraut to simmer slowly with ham.
  • When tender, pour milk over and a chunk of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Break egg yolk into small bowl and whisk.
  • Add flour and mix together.
  • Drop small pieces of the dough into the soup until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
  • Add cooked, drained potatoes to the soup.
  • Heat until low boil. Serve or cool to serve next day. The flavor is even better the next day!