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Week of November 29, 2009

Quick and Easy Appetizers

We have officially entered the Holiday Countdown...

Here are a couple of ways to keep around the makings of some neat little appetizers that you can make at a moment's notice for drop in guests.

Tiny Tacos

Tostitos® Baked Scoops!® (Hey you can even get fancy and pipe the sour cream on top and top with a sliced olive or a slice of canned jalapeno)

Choose any combination of fillings, stuff and serve on a plate:

  • Canned fat-free refried beans (warmed - just slightly)
  • Cooked taco seasoned ground turkey (rewarmed if refrigerated)
  • Low fat shredded cheddar
  • Mild salsa
  • Low fat sour cream
  • Sliced black olives
  • Pickled carrots with jalapenos

Capress Salad on a Stick

  • Small fresh mozzarella balls
  • Fresh basil leaves Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Thread mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on a toothpick. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sausage on a Stick

Stick pretzels
Fully cooked turkey smoked bratwurst (new from New JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE® )

Just warm the bratwurst and slice into mouthsize pieces and spear on a pretzel stick.

 

Week of November 22, 2009

Tips for the Best Holiday Turkey

1.Think ahead. The safest and easiest way to thaw out a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. . . but it can take at least 3 days for a 18 to 20 pound turkey.

2. Unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight and your turkey will have a crisper skin as it roasts.

3. Did you know that cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen? Thats right! A defrosted turkey takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes more per pound in a 350 degree oven that a fresh turkey.

4. Instead of stuffing your turkey with dressing, roast your turkey separately from dressing. The dressing will absorb less fat from the turkey. Add flavor to the turkey by adding a few vegetables like carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the cavity or herbs under the skin. Truss your turkey and do not stuff; your turkey will roast much more evenly.

5. Rub the outside of the turkey with vegetable or olive oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.

6. Remove the turkey from the oven when the deepest spot between the leg and the breast reads 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

7. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. The bird will not loose all of its heat until after an hour has passed. This gives you a little time to heat up or brown other dishes in the oven.

 

Week of November 8, 2009

Brining Your Holiday Turkey

Brining can be your secret to a delicious juicy holiday turkey.

The hardest part of brining a turkey is finding a container that's large enough to submerge your turkey in the brine and will also fit in your refrigerator. (It should also be stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so that any spills won't contaminate food below.) You may use a large stock pot, a clean a steril bucket. If using a roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine.

The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of kosher salt ( do not use table salt as it leaves a much saltier taste) to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness.

  • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.

  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.

  • When you're ready to roast, pour off the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast-side up, on a roasting rack. Proceed with your preferred recipe, but remember that the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt--any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, and no salt should be added to compound oils or spice rubs.

Week of November 1, 2009

Need a little extra room in the holiday oven. Try cooking your turkey breast in the crock pot. You won't be sorry. It turns out moist and succulent . If you want a little dark meat and have a large crock pot, add some turkey legs on the side.

Crockpot Turkey Breast

  • 6 - 6 1/2 lbs turkey breast
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 garlic cloves

Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub turkey all over with the oil. Carefully pull back skin over breast and rub with seasonings.

Place breast, meaty side up into a 5 quart slow cooker.

Peel the onion, cut it into quarters and place around the edges of the pot. Peel the garlic cloves and place around the sides of the cooker (maybe rub some minced under the skin).

Cook for 9 hours if frozen or 7 ½ hours if not frozen on low or to 170 degree internal temperature.

Let bird rest 10 minutes before carving.

Discard vegetables.



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