Tag Archives: turkey

Turkey & Avocado Melts

17 Mar

A couple of months ago, a friend started tweeting pics of quick & easy dishes she was making from Michael Symon’s book, “5 in 5.” She is a busy mom of two small fries who loves to cook and we tend to gravitate toward the same kinds of food. When her pictures started to appear, it piqued my interest and I ordered the book for myself after she swore I’d like it.

I’m now a little obsessed.

I am blowing through this cookbook at breakneck speed.  True to her word, the book contains 120 recipes that can be done in a pretty short amount of time, none of which require a lot of ingredients. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve made from chicken satay to the ridiculously addictive  caramelized banana sundaes (frigid weather be damned!).  A particularly hearty yet simple dish is the turkey & avocado melt which can be thrown together in about ten minutes flat. The crunch of the bread, the smoothness of the avocado, the decadence of the earthy gruyère and the sharpness of the Dijon make for a satisfying sandwich. Try it: I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

Serves 4.


8 slices sourdough/any bread you like, thick-cut
1 lb  turkey, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
4 slices gruyère
2 tb Dijon mustard (approximately. You may need more.)
2-3 tb mayo
Kosher salt & pepper


1. Preheat a pan or griddle to a medium heat.
2. Lay out the slices of bread and spread the Dijon on each piece.
3. On four pieces of bread, layer the turkey, then avocado. Sprinkle with salt & papper.
4. Layer on the gruyère and the second piece of bread.
5. Spread mayo on both outer sides of the sandwich and place on the pan/griddle, cooking until golden brown on both sides & the cheese has melted.


Sweet Potato and Smoked Turkey Soup

26 Nov

Soup, soup. I love soup. And when it’s this tasty, basic and healthy, it’s hard not to love it. We added a few drops of hot sauce to our bowls post-cooking as we are wont to do. I thought it was much better with it, but spice is certainly subjective.

Additionally, the original recipe calls for Cajun seasoning. If you have it, wonderful. If not, just mix up the ingredients I listed below: there’s a good chance you already have them in your pantry.


1 smoked turkey thigh/leg (1lb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1 ts cayenne
2 ts paprika
1 ts oregano
6c water
1 tb cider vinegar


1. Trim and discard any excess fat from the turkey leg/thigh (but keep the skin).
2. Place the turkey, garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, spices and water in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Remove the turkey from the soup and allow to cool. Remove and discard the skin. Shred or roughly chop the meat.
4. Place 4 cups of the soup in a blender and purée. Place the puréed soup and the turkey back into the slow cooker.
5. Add in the cider vinegar and stir. Season to taste and serve!

Turkey Meatballs w/ Vegetables & Rice Noodles

26 Sep

New house, new kitchen, new recipes! Tried this one out last night and it was a whole pile of filling, healthy deliciousness. Definitely give it a whirl: it’s easily adaptable and pretty quick to make. J pickled the red onions and cucumbers that he served and it added a great sour bite to the sweet and spicy sauce that accompanies the dish.

You could also serve the meatballs as an appetizer, serving the sauce on the side as a dip.

Serves 2.


1 lb ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1 tb sesame oil
1 tb chives/green onions, finely diced
2 ts cornstarch
1 pinch chili flakes (optional)
1 ts salt

1 tb hoisin sauce
1 tb rice wine vinegar
1 tb oyster sauce
1/2 tb Sriracha sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tb soy sauce

bell peppers, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 red onion, juilenned

2 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
2 lime wedges

1-2 packages rice noodles, cooked according to instructions


1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients. Do not overmix. Refrigerate for anywhere from 2 – 24 hours.
2. Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil. Dampen your hands and roll out roughly 16 meatballs. Bake 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs and preheat your broiler. Cook for 5 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, if you plan to stir fry the veg, heat a pan with 2 ts of olive oil to medium and sauté for 4 -5 minutes. If you’re pickling them, however, you can skip this step.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Adjust flavouring to taste – some people like it hot, some salty, some sweet.
5. Place the noodles at the bottom of a bowl and layer in the vegetables and meatballs, topping with green onion, cilantro and a lime wedge for garnish. Either pour the sauce on top or serve on the side.

Turkey meatbals

Turkey 2011

28 Dec

Another Christmas dinner has come and gone and the troops have been well fed. Seven of us arrived at my folks’ place Christmas evening and tucked right in to a cheese and pate plate while glasses of red and white wine were poured.

But before the feast could be devoured, that turkey had to get prepped & cooked!  I posted earlier my general plan for the turkey and I stuck pretty close to what I had planned out. For this recipe, you’ll need either a large cooler or a non-reactive container (a large bucket and garbage bags work, I promise) and you’ll want to start at least 24 hours ahead. I actually brined my turkey for 36.

Here’s what I got up to…

Serves 10.


1 11lb fresh, organic turkey
2 c hot water
2 c brown sugar
2 c kosher salt
1.5 c molasses
1 head garlic, halved
4 sprigs rosemary
2 lemons, quartered
2 onions, halved
2 oranges, quartered
1/2 c black peppercorns
enough cold water to cover the turkey

2 leeks, halved
4-5 carrots, rough chop
4-5 stalks of celery, rough chop
1 head garlic
1 orange, halved
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tb ground black pepper
2 tb butter, room temperature
4 c chicken stock



1. Take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove the neck and giblets, then rinse with cold water.
2. In a large pot, combine the hot water, salt and brown sugar. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved and cool the mixture. (You don’t want hot water in with your turkey.)
3. When the mixture has cooled, place it in the cooler/container. Add enough cold water to cover the turkey. Then add in the molasses and stir.
4.  Toss the oranges, lemons, rosemary, peppercorns and garlic halves into the mixture.
5. Place the turkey in the brine and store in a cold place.


1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
1. Remove the turkey from the brining solution. Rinse and pat dry.
2. In a roasting pan, place the leeks, carrots, celery and 3/4 of the garlic.
3. Place the turkey breast-side up on the bed of vegetables and smother completely with the butter. Season thoroughly with the black pepper, including in the cavity. (You won’t need salt.)
4. Place the rest of the garlic, orange halves and rosemary in the cavity of the turkey.
5. Pour 3 cups of the chicken stock into the pan, reserving the last cup for gravy  or if you need extra liquid during the cooking process.
6. Wrap a little bit of foil on the tips of the wings so they don’t burn.
7. Put the turkey in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325F. Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 30 minutes, until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches about 160-165. Let it rest for 20-30  minutes and enjoy!

Christmas Turkey Plans

12 Dec

It’s about that time of year when I start plotting how I’m going to cook the Christmas turkey. I’ve taken on turkey-cooking for the last few Thanksgivings and this will be Christmas turkey number two. (Last year J & I hosted Christmas for the first time. Fun but exhausting, I’m glad the duties are being split up among guests this year. Even happier that I won’t have to do any dishes.) I’ve been keeping an eye on different brines and recipes and I think I’ve come up with the one I want to use:

2 c salt
2 c brown sugar
1 c molasses
2 lemons, quartered
2 oranges, quartered
1 bunch of rosemary
2 onions, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 c peppercorns

The plan is to dissolve the salt & sugar in hot water in a large cooler, then add the rest of the ingredients. Top that off with enough cold water to cover the turkey and leave the whole concoction alone for a solid 24 hours, maybe longer. Will then stuff the birdie with garlic, rosemary, lemons & oranges and roast on a bed of celery, carrots and leeks. I have chicken stock in the freezer that will go in the bottom of the roasting pan, too, which should help make for some delicious gravy! (Actual gravy prep is Dad’s job. He still makes it the best. I always end up with lumps in mine because I’m impatient.)

Thoughts, anyone? Anyone have an amazing turkey recipe they’d like to share?

Brined Citrus Turkey

31 Dec

This was my second shot at brining a turkey and I think this second one was even better than the first! It’s easy, it’s something you can do the day before you eat and it’s not complicated in the least.

But why should you, you might ask? Salt is the key here as it breaks down the proteins and traps water molecules, which results in less moisture loss in the cooking process. Also, the salt seasons the bird inside and out which is always a good thing.

So how do you brine a turkey? (Or a chicken, for that matter?) For every gallon of cold water, you need:

1 1/4 c Kosher salt
1 c brown sugar/honey

You’ll likely need at least 1 gallon to cover the turkey if not 2 gallons.

You can also use any herb or…well, anything you can imagine to flavour that bird! I used lemon & orange wedges this time around.

Dissolve the salt and sugar/honey in the water. You can use a large bag (garbage bags work, believe it or not) or a thoroughly cleaned cooler. Add in the turkey and keep the whole concoction stored somewhere cool for anywhere from 4 – 24 hours. If you’re using a cooler and keeping it inside, throw in a couple of ice packs to ensure that the bird stays nice and cold.

Once you’re ready to cook the turkey, take it out of the brine and rinse it thoroughly. Pat it dry so you get a nice, crispy skin and place it on a cooking rack in your roasting pan. (Or use veggies as a rack if you don’t have one. Those veg will be delicious at dinner!)

Set your oven to 400F.

Grate 1-2 tb orange and lemon zest into 2 tb butter at room temperature. Smear that birdie with your citrus butter. Season with 2tb black pepper but NOT salt. The brine took care of that already. Quarter the lemon and orange you zested and put them in the cavity of the turkey. Next, take a small piece of foil and wrap it around the tips of the wings so they don’t burn.

Toss the bird in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes. Once that goes off,  turn the oven down to 325F.  Baste turkey every half hour. You can add water or stock to the bottom of the pan if you need to.

The general rule is that you need to cook turkey 20 minutes per pound but every oven is different. The last hour you anticipate cooking the turkey, check the temp every 15 minutes by sticking a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast or the thigh. You’re aiming for 170F or until the juices run clear. Once you’ve reached that optimal temperature, take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then slice that sucker up and enjoy!!

Isn't she gorgeous?

Turkey Tacos

9 Nov

When I come home from my Wednesday evening run, and then walk the dog, I am not interested in dinner that requires a lot of preparation. A little chopping and into the pan is my preferred method. Quick, easy, healthy. So when I came across a recipe for turkey tacos that could be made in about 15 minutes, I was very happy! Thanks EVER so, Martha.

You could absolutely add some chopped sweet peppers and/or corn to this recipe for a little crunch.


2 tb hot sauce (I used hot sauce & added some chipotle)
1 tb tomato paste
2 tb vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tb chili powder
2 ts cumin
1 lb ground turkey
salt & pepper
handful cilantro leaves


1. In a small bowl, whisk hot sauce, tomato paste and 2 tb water.
2. In a medium-sized pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the chopped onion. Cook for 3 minutes. (If you’re adding peppers or corn, toss them in here.)
3. Add in garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir and saute 2 minutes.
4. Add in ground turkey with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook roughly 3 minutes and then stir in the sauce.
5. Warm the tortillas, spoon the turkey into the middle and sprinkle with cilantro.

If you’ve got an avocado kicking around, slice it up and throw it into the tacos, too. A little spritz of lime and you are in delicious business!

Foolproof Turkey

13 Oct

(Because no one wants to rendered foolish by a fowl!)

As I talked about in an older post, I am now in charge of the bulk of Thanksgiving dinner in our family. I am completely okay with this: it’s fun for me and usually turns out really well. I am bound and determined to ensure that I don’t dry out the turkey breast as no one wants to eat sawdust. On the other hand, I don’t want to undercook the bird and possibly give people food poisoning. (I know, I know. I’m too kind.)

So what follows below is how I made the Main Event this year. It came out tasty, moist and with lots of flavour and I threw it together in about 20 minutes. My rule for turkey is 20 minutes per pound, assuming the bird is unstuffed.

Serves 5.

10lb fresh turkey
5 celery stalks, roughly chopped
5 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lemon, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, whole
1/4 parsley stalks
3tb butter at room temp
1 tb each salt & pepper
1 ts cumin
1 ts paprika


1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Arrange the celery, carrots, onions, lemon and 2 cloves of garlic in the bottom of a roasting pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.
3. Wash and dry the turkey, removing the neck & giblets.*
4.  Place the turkey on top of the veggies in the roasting pan.  Smear with the butter and season with salt, pepper, cumin & paprika.
5. Stuff the turkey with the other half of the lemon, parsley stalks & garlic cloves. Wrap the ends of the wings in tin foil as they may burn.
6. Place in the oven, uncovered. After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 325. Baste every 30 minutes until the bird is done, roughly 3.5 hours, or when the internal temperature reaches 175-180 degrees.
7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 25-30 minutes.

*7a . If you’re making gravy, drain the juices from the bottom of the pan into a sauce pan. Heat and add a little bit of flour at a time til you reach the desired consistency. You can also add the giblets to the gravy if you wish.

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