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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Tator Tot Casserole Recipe

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Once upon a time there was a little girl who adored church potlucks. She really couldn’t decide which she loved best, hugs from snuggly grandmas or their comforting dishes that sat upon the potluck table. One dish always stood out in the crowd, okay, maybe two. The first was a blackberry crumble. I… er… she was old enough to bake and wanted so badly to ask for the recipe but somehow it felt inappropriate to do so at a funeral.

The other was tator tot casserole. Although anyone can throw together some tots and cream of mystery soup, homemade is always the very best.

 Tator Tot Casserole Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey or beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse pepper
  • 1/2 up flour
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon – chicken flavor
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • One 16 ounce package tator tots
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook onions in olive oil until golden brown (caramelized) then remove onions from pan and set aside.

Add and cook ground meat. Season with salt & pepper. I find ground turkey more flavorful than beef. Healthier too. We need all the health we can get because like I said, this dish is quite sinful.

Preheat oven to 350F.

If using ground beef, remove most of the excess grease, leaving a few tablespoons of it in the pan.

Sprinkle flour over meat & onions.

Stir flour into mixture and cook for about five minutes while continuing to stir so that flour cooks (otherwise your sauce will taste like raw flour).

After flour is cooked, add chicken (or beef) stock and chicken Better Than Bouillon. Continue to stir over heat.  Over time, the sauce will thicken.

Add fresh or frozen peas & carrots to your liking. Celery or water chestnuts can add a nice crunch if you like.

Fill the bottom of the dish with meat sauce. Place tator tots in an orderly fashion on top of sauce. I used two 8 inch pans (since I was taking one of them to a couple who is celebrating having their first baby) but this recipe works great for one 9 X 13 pan.

Bake about 20-30 minutes or until tator tots are golden brown & sauce is bubbly.

Do three hail Marys, take communion, complete one Zumba class and then add grated real cheddar cheese over tots.

Bake again until cheese is melted and bubbly and sign up to take Zumba class regularly.

Consider yourself snuggled by a grandma, then go eat an apple. I’m sorry. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.

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Individual Chicken Cottage Pies With Sage Recipe

There’s just something about meals that are served in individual servings that makes one feel special.

These individual buttery, sage chicken pies are a cozy treat that your family will appreciate after a long day of being lost in the crowds.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or ground beef)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or beef broth if making beef pies)
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots

Cook onion in olive oil.

Cook until caramelized, then remove from pan & set aside.

Cook ground chicken in same pan. If cooking ground chicken, add a little olive oil. Add onions back into pan. Cook until done. If cooking ground beef, drain most of grease.

When done, you should have a few tablespoons of oil in the pan with meat.

Sprinkle flour over meat. Stir well.

Stir flour into meat and cook for a few minutes.

Pour in milk and continue to stir. Quickly add broth and continue to stir until it becomes thick like a gravy. You can use water in place of the broth but broth is tastier. Thickening could take up to five minutes depending on how high your heat is.

For a fancier cottage pie, replace one cup of broth with red wine.

Add sage, salt, pepper, and Better Than Bouillon. Stir in and allow to melt in completely.

Stir in peas & carrots.

For chosen container/s about 3/4ths full with gravy. These short jars took about 3/4 cup each – enough gravy for about 6 servings.

Using a decorating bag (or a Ziploc bag with a hole cut out of the corner), swirl mashed potatoes over the top of the gravy.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes and then broil until tops of pies are golden brown. When done, top with a little butter and freshly chopped chives or parsley.

Serve hot and in front of a cozy fireplace. With family. And play games. And talk about your day. And share smiles. The end.

 

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General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

General Tso’s Chicken. The same family favorite, only now you’re the chef.

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken Sauce

Place in blender and blend just until combined:

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger or about a tablespoon of freshly minced ginger
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

Set aside just for a moment.

Place into a medium-large saucepan on medium heat for a couple of minutes:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons crushed red peppers or a few dried whole red chili peppers (use more for spicier dish)

Gently whisk blended ingredients into a saucepan. Continue to whisk on medium heat for a couple of minutes until thickened. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Keep warm until ready to pour over fried tempura chicken.

Breaded Chicken

  • 4 cups canola or vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg

Preheat canola oil for frying in a small deep fryer to 365-375°F. If you’d rather, you can heat it in a heavy duty pan and use a thermometer. While waiting for oil to heat up, cut chicken breast into long, thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick) then set aside. Thinner is better because they are able to fully cook during the frying process.

Food Safety Tip

Poultry must reach 165°F in the middle to be safe for eating. 

Place milk, 3 T. oil, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, sugar, and egg in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well. The mixture should be thick but nice & smooth. Allow tempura mixture to sit while oil finishes heating up.

When frying oil reaches at least 365°F, coat a piece of chicken with tempura mixture and carefully place in fryer. Repeat with one or two more pieces. Do not crowd fryer because if you do, your chicken sticks together during cooking or will cool down your oil too much. Consequently, oil that has cooled down too much will make for soggy breading rather than a lovely crunchy coating.

Cook chicken pieces for about 4 minutes. Use a utensil that’s safe in hot oil to move chicken pieces around a bit during the cooking process so they are cooked on all sides. The coating should be a beautiful golden brown and, most noteworthy, the chicken inside should be fully cooked.

Cooking Tip

If you discover your chicken pieces were too thick and didn’t reach 165°F in the middle, just turn on the oven and cook them at 350°F until they are fully done.

When removing from the deep fryer, place chicken pieces on a baking sheet lined with a couple layers of paper towels to drain the excess oil off.

Tempura is optional. This recipe is just as delicious without the tempura breading. Just cook chicken and stir into General Tso’s sauce. 

 

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Saucy Balsamic Burgers Recipe AKA Saucy Balls

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Meet the burger that knocked Joey Fatone off his feet

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Once upon a time a foodie blogger ordered a burger at a restaurant. She fell in love. She had to go home and recreate the burger. But then she was too busy. And then the restaurant closed. And she was sad.  So sad that she forgot how to write a correct sentence. But then while playing in the kitchen she figured out the secret recipe. And it was good. But not good enough. So she recreated it about eight more times. And then it was worthy of sharing. And she was so happy she could cry. The end.

These tasty burgers are soaked in a sweet, balsamic sauce and tucked inside a light & fluffy puff pastry with perfectly melted & herbed goat cheese (or cream cheese).

BURGER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 20 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 pound country sausage
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 sheets puff pastry (or 2 boxes)
  • 1/2 cup flour (for rolling out puff pastry)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened (or goat cheese if you prefer)
  • 2 sprigs chopped fresh basil leaves
  •  4 sprigs chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 6 sprigs bunch chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves
SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Defrost frozen puff pastry by leaving on the counter for 40 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Be prompt about using it after the defrost time because it comes folded and can stick together if left out of the freezer too long.

Combine ground turkey & country sausage together. Add minced onions, salt & pepper and mix well.

Form meat into 36 firm, one-ounce meatballs. A cookie scoop works great for measuring, then just press meat together until a firm meatball.

Heat olive oil in frying pan on medium-high heat.

Add a little more salt & pepper to tops & brown burgers in frying pan. It usually takes about three turns each to brown the entire meatball. You never want to ever under cook pork or chicken but in this case, there will be more cooking time in the oven so to prevent the meat from becoming too dry, just brown them for now.

Place burgers on a tray. Set aside.

Whisk together brown sugar and cornstarch in a medium-large saucepan but do not turn burner on. Add chicken broth & balsamic vinegar & whisk all ingredients together. Add salt & pepper. Finally, turn burner on and cook over medium-high heat, stirring once & awhile so that it doesn’t burn. Cook until sauce boils and you can see that it has begun to thicken. Sauce will continue to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside..

Preheat oven to 400F.  This is very, very important. If you do not preheat, things will not cook properly – especially puff pastry. It will come out soggy and limp instead of puffed and flaky so be sure to wait until the oven actually reaches 400F before placing burgers in oven.

Using a little flour & a rolling pin, roll out 4 puff pastry sheets and then cut into 9 squares each.

Finely chop herbs. Mix cream cheese together with the fresh herbs.

Place 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture in the middle of each puff pastry square.

Place one burger on each puff pastry square on top of the cream cheese.

Fold four corners of puff pastry up around the burgers until they meet in the middle. Press together. Close up additional openings so that the puff pastry “hugs” each burger.

Turn Saucy Balsamic Burgers over and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You can fit 18 on each baking sheet (3 rows of 6).

After all burgers are wrapped, use beaten egg to brush top of each puff pastry so that they will become golden brown and shiny while baking.
Bake burgers for 25 minutes or until pastry is puffed, flaky and light golden brown.

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Serve with warmed sauce and garnish with parsley if you like. These make a perfect tray of 36 appetizers.

Perfect served with a salad or fresh fruit. Saucy balsamic burgers can also be made larger for a main course.

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One more look, shall we? Oooooo. She is saucy indeed.

Saucy balsamic burgers can be made in advance. Follow all steps except baking. Save burgers on the sheet pan, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Refrigerate sauce as well. Brush with egg wash and bake just 25 minutes before you need them ready and reheat sauce.

 

 

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Lasagna With White Wine Sauce Recipe

For the sauce:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 – 1 lb 12 oz. can Italian recipe crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3-4 stalks fresh basil
  • 3-4 stalks fresh oregano
  • 1 – 187 ml or 6-7 ounces chardonnay (mini bottles from 4 packs work great)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: chopped olives, mushrooms
It’s easy to convert this sauce recipe into spaghetti sauce. Add one six ounce can of olives with juice. Just dice olives in food processor or blender for a few pulses & then add to sauce.

 

For layering:

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces grated mizithra cheese (optional)
  • 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese

To make the sauce, place Italian pork and ground turkey in pan to cook. Salt & pepper meat.

Chop herbs, mince garlic and dice onions and turn oven onto 350F to preheat while meat is cooking.

When meat is almost done cooking, add a few tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Then add diced onion. If using ground beef instead of turkey, drain meat.

After onions are golden and almost translucent, add garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, chardonnay, and salt & pepper to taste. Add drained & chopped olives and mushrooms if desired.

In a 9 x 13 baking pan, layer all ingredients:

  1. Sauce (important to begin with sauce)
  2. Single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (almost 4 per layer)
  3. Sauce
  4. Cheeses (all four kinds)
  5. Single layer of lasagna noodles
  6. Sauce
  7. Cheeses
  8. Single layer of lasagna noodles
  9. Sauce

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Remove foil. Add grated parmesan on top of lasagna and return to oven uncovered for an additional five minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with your favorite bread and wine. Garnish with fresh basil.

Surely goodness and mercy.

 

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Homemade Chicken Fajita Seasoning Recipe

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When I was little and we went to Mexican restaurants, I always thought that the people who ordered fajitas were crying out for attention. The waiter or waitress would bring their platter of sizzling fajita goodies to the table and everyone would stop talking to watch the presentation of the noisy dish. Maybe deep inside I was jealous of the attention their dish received while I ordered a soundless dish.

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Finally, as an adult I decided to make the jump and order fajitas for myself. I was embarrassed when they arrived. Everyone stopped and stared. They were lovely. They were sizzling. They were delicious. The only thing that could make them better was if I could make them at home. And now I do. And I must share.

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First, make the fajita seasoning.

        • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
        • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
        • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 1 teaspoon paprika
        • 1 teaspoon chili powder
        • 1 teaspoon oregano molido
        • 2 teaspoons  Rio Grande Chili Blend
        • 2 teaspoons onion powder
        • 3 teaspoons ground cumin

These spices can usually be found in the Mexican food aisle or baking aisle at the grocery store.

Stir seasonings together well using a whisk to prevent lumps.

Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into frying pan. Cut chicken into strips (use 10 thighs or 6 breasts). Salt and pepper well.  Stir after a few minutes of cooking and season with salt & pepper again.

It’s all about getting the right amount of salt and pepper!  Use too little, and the other flavors won’t be present. Use too much and all you’ll taste is salt. Keep testing to get the right amount.

During the last five minutes of cooking time, add one medium diced onion and 1/2 a bunch (or a whole bunch if you love cilantro like I do) of chopped fresh cilantro.

After chicken is almost fully cooked, add 1 cup of water (or as I prefer to use, black olive juice that I often save in the fridge for such a time as this). Also add the juice from one fresh lime. Add all of homemade seasoning mix

Stir well and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is still juicy but most of excess juice is cooked out. If you like, you can chop some colorful bell peppers and let them simmer with the chicken just like they do in Mexican restaurants.

Place inside of a warmed tortilla shell with chicken and  add trimmings if desired. Less attention but all the flavor of a Mexican restaurant sizzling fajita dish.

This recipe is perfect for one pound of ground taco meat as well.

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Easy Fried Chicken Recipe and a Graduation

This week was dotter’s graduation.

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I am excited to see the professional’s shot of this one. Finding the kids we know in my copy is like playing Where’s Waldo.

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Besides the graduates tossing their caps in the air to celebrate, there were grad parties throughout the town. Parents went dizzy trying to attend them all and everyone rejoiced.

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Then it was time for our shindig. You know it’s going to be a serious party when this shiny girl comes out of the pantry.

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To keep myself from burning out on any one project, I bounced back and forth from decoration prep to food prep. This banner is easy to make. Just choose your color theme. It’s best to choose 3 main colors & stick with those. I cut a triangle with scrapbook paper folded in half in the size that I wanted with a paper cutter then I used that as my pattern for the rest of the triangles. I may or may not have used a few antique hymnal pages for this project as well. I caught up on all my favorite shows while I punched two holes in the top of each one and strung them with matching ribbon, placing a solid colored triangle in between each word. Kitty loved swatting at the ribbons. To finish the project, I used high quality red, glittery sticker letters.

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Pinwheels are easy to make too. They add a whimsical touch to the party decor. Two-sided cardstock works best.
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Just cut into 4 inch squares, cut each corner toward the middle of the paper using a paper cutter while leaving about a one inch space in the middle to keep the paper in one piece. Bring the right side of each cut piece toward the middle and use a pin to hold the pinwheel together. Mine were just for decor, so I used a hole punch with brads through the corners since it didn’t matter if they spun.

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To make the pinwheel handle, I used black straws and cut slits for the brads to continue all the through the back of the straw.  For a longer handle, I squished the end of one straw and pushed it into a second straw.

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Even the window boxes were adorned with pinwheel fun to help continue the decorations to the back deck.

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All of dotter’s favorites, like these gorgeous bruschetta appetizers, were served and quickly became the favorite of many. See the mini flags? Another easy way to put a smile on guests faces! Just fold matching paper in half, cut flag out & fold around toothpicks and secure with double sided tape. The cuteness is overwhelming.

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Simple chicken drumettes are always a hit.

Ingredients

  • 2 pound chicken legs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preheat frying pan (or deep fryer) filled with canola or vegetable oil to about 350 degrees (medium heat). Do not use olive oil as chicken won’t turn out as crispy.

Dip chicken legs in buttermilk then dip in flour. Dip in buttermilk again and into flour again.

Place coated chicken legs into frying pan (or deep fryer). Cook for 25-30 minutes or until thickest part of meat reaches 165F in the middle.

Add salt, pepper and your favorite house seasoning (we used Johnny’s) on both sides of chicken. Serve hot or can be refrigerated and served cold.

Another way to cook chicken is to fry it until golden brown then place on a baking tray and allow to finish cooking in a pre-heated oven at 350F until chicken reaches 165F in thickest part.

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Beautiful World Bread is a must for every bless-ed occasion.

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I remember exactly when I got this recipe from a friend. I was stunned at how simple to make these meatballs are and there are never any left after any of our parties. Not even one.

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Salmon dip with crackers hidden in the midst of all the other treats.

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Every home we partied at had a “shrine” in honor of the graduate. Here is ours.

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We added advice cards and an album to place them into when each guest filled one out. Young children were included in the fun – oh how sweet their cards are.

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Mini corndogs with mustard and homemade ketchup, twice the fun and half the calories, kind of, if you limit yourself. If you can stop at one. But no one can.

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The to-go treats were hand-decorated sugar cookies.

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But, you know, flower cookies on a stick are only popular with everyone over the age of 2 and under the age of 120.

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Strawberry lemonade and cherry limeade in canning jars for all. The regular plastic lids for the jars (or wide-mouth lids) are so very handy! These cuties were seeing how long they could keep their hands in the ice. The recipe for both of these delicious drinks will be coming very soon for it is almost summer and these recipes will be necessary.

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Volleyball for the teenagers.

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And hobby farm for the kids.

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Talky talk for the grown-ups all around the house.

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A very red plate day for dotter.

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But wait, for there is the after party.

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It comes with giggles.

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And hot chocolate, only, you know, perhaps with a few melted high-quality chocolate bars melted inside… until 2am.

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Breaded Turkey Onion Burgers Recipe

There are just a few sniffs you can sniff that call you to dinner faster than fried onions. One time when I was making these simple, delicious burgers a neighbor showed up at my door step asking what I was making that smelled so darn good. It was nothing fancy. Just a humble dinner with amazing sniffs. It was the breaded turkey onion burgers.

Chop none medium yellow onion. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.

I love to use turkey for its flavor. Oh yes, and it’s healthy.

Add the onions into the turkey. This is also a great time to add some salt & pepper to the meat. Mix together well.

To form the burgers, lay saran wrap over a plastic lid.

Push turkey into lid.

Super easy uniform burgers!

Coat in flour.

Flavor to your liking. I like to add a little more salt & pepper, Spike Seasoning & Johnny’s Seasoning Salt.

Flip. Cook until inside of burgers reach at least 165 degrees.

Sit back, enjoy and be sure to make enough for your neighbors.

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Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 pound of chicken breast or thighs, diced
  • 1 medium chopped yellow onion
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon – chicken flavor
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (for good measure)
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • House seasoning like Spike, Johnny’s or Lawry’s.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced (or ground)
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots (or fresh, diced)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 ounces diced frozen hash brown  potatoes
  • 1 recipe biscuits (recipe below)
  • 1 egg, beaten (for brushing tops of biscuits)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Make the biscuit dough before making the chicken sauce so they are ready to place on top before baking. Chicken and turkey pot pies can be made from leftovers or fresh. First, let’s start with fresh.

Place olive oil into a medium large saucepan. When it is hot, add chicken or turkey. If using chicken, dark meat will be the most flavorful.

Allow chicken to cook completely. Set aside on a plate while you start the sauce.

Add onion to oil and cook until somewhat clear in color.

*For pre-cooked leftover poultry, just melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and continue with the same recipe below.

Have a whisk ready and sprinkle in flour while whisking continually. Roux will possibly get a little crumbly looking. This is okay.

Keep stirring until roux is browned. The first reason is that you are cooking out some of the flour taste. The second reason is that you’re looking for a nice color for your sauce.

Next, pour & whisk in chicken broth. Bring to a light boil. The sauce will thicken. Allow to simmer for a while longer. Yay! You did it! You will never have to buy another can of cream soup ever again – unless you want to, that is. I won’t judge.

Add seasonings.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add back into sauce.

Great veggies to add are peas, carrots, chopped celery, and potatoes. Next, to the chicken, I do believe that these potatoes are my favorite.

Add sour cream for good measure. Stir in & your filling is ready for the pie.

Pour filling into pie crust.

Place top crust over filling. Cut slits in the top so the filling has a place to bubble up.  Beat an egg well & then brush over top of pie for a beautifully golden crust.

Bake for about a half an hour or until pie crust is golden brown.

Sharing is caring. But if you don’t, I won’t judge.

 

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How to Cook a Turkey and Stuffing Recipe

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There are too many videos on You Tube of turkeys gone wrong to count. If you’re nervous about roasting turkey for the first time, I think you might appreciate how easy it really is to do. Let’s get started!

The reason I’m posting this today is because if your turkey is still in the freezer, you should probably move it into the refrigerator. It’s a good idea to put it on the bottom shelf and to put it on or in something to catch the juices.

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To figure out how much time your turkey will need to defrost in the fridge, just figure on 5 hours per pound. So a 20 pound turkey will need 100 hours in the fridge. Divide the 100 hours by 24 hour days and you will need to defrost your turkey for about 4 days.

To figure out if you need to get up super early to put your turkey in the oven, check out this chart and set your alarm accordingly.

Once you have defrosted your turkey and figured out your roasting time, it’s time to prepare your turkey. To prepare your oven, remove extra racks and just keep one at the right height for your roasting pan. Doing this while oven is still cool will save you a lot of unnecessary troubles. Get your roasting pan ready, turn oven onto 325 degrees and remove packaging. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can buy disposable ones in a regular grocery store but I recommend making the investment of a good roasting pan and a pretty platter. You will use them for more than just turkey over the years.

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Okay, that is my least favorite part of the whole Thanksgiving dinner. Now you can do anything!

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Most grocery stores and bakeries sell plain toasted bread around the holidays. For my 16 pound turkey I just used one bag (1 pound) of stuffing bread.

You can toast your own by laying bread on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven but just be sure not to choose a sweet type of bread.

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Put bread into a large bowl. I prefer breaking mine into smaller pieces before I start making the stuffing.

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Chop yellow onion.

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Chop fresh flat leaf Italian parsley.

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Chop fresh sage. Secret: If you love the flavor of Stove Top stuffing, this is probably the main reason why you do. Rosemary & thyme are great herbal additions too!

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Finally, chop some celery.

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Another awesome ingredient is water chestnuts. They add a nice crunch to the stuffing. One or two cans should do just fine. I like to chop mine a little bit first.

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Finally, toss all the fresh goodies into the stuffing bowl.

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Add 2-3 cans of chicken broth (or just water) to stuffing then mix together.

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Stuffing should be completely dampened and a little bit soft. It’s okay that the insides of the bread pieces are still crispy because they will get more juices when cooking inside of turkey.

If you choose to take it easy on yourself and use a pre-made boxed stuffing, it will probably have instructions for how liquid to add before placing stuffing into the turkey but if it does not, you can use the same rule above.

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Now for the seasonings. Some basic seasonings you can use are a house spice like Johnny’s Lawry’s or Spike. Of course, you’ll want plenty of salt, pepper and maybe some Beau Monde (it gives a nice celery flavoring). The great thing about stuffing is that as long as it hasn’t come near the raw turkey, you can taste a little piece before putting it in the turkey to see if it has enough flavor. This will at least give you a good idea if you are close to perfection.

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Yay! The stuffing is ready to stuff into the stuffee. First, rub salt all over the inside both ends of the the turkey.

Then push stuffing into the neck end of the turkey (the end where the skin flap was). I know, it’s yucky.

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When done,  use the skin flap to help seal the stuffing on that end. Just pull it up…

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All the way…

And hold in place while you flip the turkey over.

Then stuff the other end of the bird as full as you like. The top of this stuffing will get that yummy crispy topping on it. Mmmmm….

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Rub butter or olive oil all over the bird and season with salt, pepper & seasonings that you enjoy. You can also lay herbs over the top of the turkey. Some people use a sweet sauce but we prefer a savory turkey. Pour about a cup of water in bottom of the roasting pan. Place the rack in the pan and then the turkey with legs upward.

Tom is ready to pop into the oven.

Keep your cutest oven mitts and turkey baster ready.

About every hour or two, check on the turkey and use the baster to suck up the juices and squirt them all over the bird. Your home is about to smell like family tradition. Savor it and remember it. These are the best times in life.

Once turkey is well browned, cover with roasting pan lid. This will prevent the to, the legs, and the wings from overcooking while the inside continues to roast.

Oh momma. Let Tom sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. Remove stuffing from under flap on bottom of bird and place it into a serving bowl. Carefully place turkey onto a pretty platter. A pan that comes with a rack is especially good thing for cooking things as large as a turkey.

If you like the look & plan on having a picture op, keep the stuffing that is at the top there until needed.

Electric knives are popular for cutting as they allow for thinner slices.

Decorate your turkey with parsley, shorty baby tomatoes or whatever you find pretty.

May you and yours have a very happy holiday season celebrating the blessings that you have been given.

 

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© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017