01/4/17
IMG_4027 (1024x1024)

Patatas y Huevos Tacos and a Second-Hand Christmas

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

In the winter of 1975, my parents divorced. My mother had a chronic heart condition that made it impossible for her to work and the two of us couldn’t quite make ends meet that first year on our own.

In previous years, Christmas had been a grand event in our home. Money had always been scarce, but my parents scrimped and saved for the holidays.

My first memories are of bright lights, rich smells and a pile of gifts with my name on them. That year, however, would be different. My mother received a meager social security check each month that almost, but not quite, covered the bare essentials, with nothing left for the luxuries of Christmas.

I remember that most of our meals consisted of potatoes and the big blocks of American cheese that the government passed out at the Social Security office.

My mother, alone for the first time in her life, found it difficult to put aside her own hurts and fears and participate in the holidays. I do remember that we had a small tree and brought a box of decorations down from the closet shelf, but there wasn’t much joy in our home that year.

One thing that did worry my mother was that there was no money for gifts. She fretted over this for weeks but the funds just were not there for presents. One day, a neighbor told her about a local toy charity, an organization dedicated to providing donated presents for children in need. My mother applied for the program and visited their office, bringing home a small box of gifts, which she wrapped and hid under her bed.

The night before Christmas, we ate our baked potatoes, and Mom read to me from a book of children’s Christmas stories.

Just before bedtime, there was a knock at the door, and my mother answered to find a young woman who had just moved in next door to us. She was Hispanic, speaking very broken English, and had twin sons who were my own age. She was also divorced and was in as bad, or worse, financial straits as we were. She came to the door asking to borrow some flour and looked so exhausted that Mother invited her in and made her a cup of coffee. I was hustled off to bed (lest I still be up when Santa made his appearance) and they stayed up and talked awhile.

I remember my mother coming into my room and gently waking me up, then sitting on the side of my bed and asking me if I minded if we had company for Christmas. I said no, unused to have my opinion asked in such matters. Then she took my hand and asked if it would be all right with me if Santa gave some of my presents to the two little boys next door. I thought about this for a while, wondering why Santa couldn’t bring them their own presents, but somehow my young brain sensed that it would make mother happy, and she hadn’t seemed happy in a long while, so I hesitantly agreed.

Mother kissed my forehead, and I went back to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to the most wonderful smell wafting under my  bedroom door. Hunger banished even the memory of Christmas from my mind, and I ran from my room to the kitchen to find the source of that glorious aroma.

I skidded to a stop as I rounded the corner into a strange dark-faced woman standing at my mother’s stove. She was rolling out tortillas and dropping them into a smoking pan, while our cast-iron skillet sizzled noisily on the back burner.

I blinked one or twice in confusion, until my mother walked in, then remembered that we had company, and even more importantly, that today was Christmas! I spun on my heels and ran into the living room to look under the tree. Two little Mexican boys sat, looking uncertainly around them, on our couch. Several small wrapped packages lay beneath the tree.

Mom followed me in and began to pass out presents, there were just enough for one gift each. I gazed longingly at the brightly wrapped packages in these stranger’s hands, knowing they should have been mine, clutching my solitary present tightly to my chest.

I unwrapped the box to find a GI Joe action figure, the old fashioned kind with the moving knees and elbows, the kind that came with a little rifle and a little backpack and a string that you pulled to make them say cool army things. Except mine didn’t have a rifle, or a backpack, and there was only a hole in the back where the string had once gone. I stood there in the middle of the living room, my lip trembling, clutching my broken toy.

I looked to see what the other boys had gotten, what gifts I had missed out on. One package revealed a cap pistol (without caps) and a worn plastic holster (I had a much nicer set in the toy box in my room), the second box revealed a plastic bag full of Legos, in various shapes and sizes. I stood there and watched these two boys whooping and laughing like these were the only toys they had, turning their meager gifts over and over in awe, and suddenly I realized, that these were the only toys they had.

Soon I would learn that these two, who would become my closest pals, each had exactly two shirts, two pairs of pants, and a worn sleeping bag that they shared on the floor of their room.

As I watched my mother talking to this strange woman in our kitchen, tears running down their cheeks, I was suddenly happy that she had woken me up, and that Santa had shared my presents with these boys, for how terrible would it have been to wake up with nothing under the tree, no presents to play with, no Santa at all?

The boys, Jay and Julio, followed me to my room, where I showed them, to their amazement, the wealth of my toy box. Soon we were playing like old friends, until called out for a breakfast of seasoned eggs and potatoes wrapped in fresh, warm tortillas. It was the best breakfast I could ever remember having.

I’ll never forget that morning, as I’ll never forget my friends from Mexico who taught me that there is always something to be thankful for, often much more than we think.

And that sometimes there is no greater gift than sharing a meal with a friend.

– Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

(“A Second-Hand Christmas” by Perry P. Perkins. Originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas, 2007, and Sassee Magazine, Dec 1, 2009,)

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Okay, so this is a little touched up from that Christmas breakfast, but even if you leave out the sausage, poblanos, and toppings, it’s pretty darn good!

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
2 large russet potatos, sliced and seasoned (unpeeled)
1 large ancho chili, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp oil
8 eggs
1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup pico de gallo
1 cup Mexican Crema
1 cup cheddar cheese
10-12 50/50 tortillas, warmed

Brown tacos in a skillet with very little butter. Set aside and keep warm.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Take sausage out of casing and cook in a separate pan, breaking it up, until no longer pink.

Drain, and set aside.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Slice potatoes in thick matchsticks (can use a French-fry slicer.) Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Place potatoes and diced poblano chili in a single layer in pan and cook potatoes until golden brown, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Beat together eggs, milk, and spices with a whisk.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add egg and milk mixture to pan; heat until almost firm, folding once or twice with a wooden spoon.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add sausage. When egg mixture is almost firm, add cheese, cover, place in oven and bake until eggs are firm and cheese melts.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Divide evenly between tortillas, topped with potatoes, and serve with pico and Crema.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Number of Servings: 6

NOTE: To take this recipe up another notch – substitute 8oz chorizo for half of the breakfast sausage. Just make sure to drain the meat before adding it to the potatoes.

 

11/23/16

The Best Turkey Gravy You’ve Ever Tasted

The best turkey gravy ever
 

It wasn’t a proper Thanksgiving or Christmas without Dad showing up early in the day with a couple of armloads of groceries and his knife-roll. (It also wasn’t a holiday meal without Mom reminding Dad she was neither his sous chef, nor his wife, that it was her kitchen, not his restaurant, and if he wanted the butter he could damn well get it out of the fridge himself…)

We had an…interesting…family dynamic.

But, back to the point…

One of the amazing things to come out of those grocery bags were the ingredients for Dad’s homemade turkey gravy. That gravy was, I kid you not, the best part of the dinner. It could have turned an old flip-flop into haute cuisine. I’m not comparing mom’s turkey to a flip flop, but…well…

Dad’s been gone for almost a decade, Mom for almost three, but I still feel their presence, the friendly bickering, and the underlying love for each other that neither knew how to express, when I whip up the gravy each year.

You can make pretty much any type of gravy with this recipe, simply by changing up the type of stock or broth you use. It’s the simple, old-school way that gravy’s been made for hundreds of years.

And it’s still just as good.

Dad Perkins’ Turkey Gravy
(Makes 10-12 generous servings)

1/2 cup (1 stick) Sweet cream butter
1/2 cup AP Flour
4 cups hot homemade turkey stock (below)
2-4 cups boiling water*

The Roux.
Melt your butter in a heavy bottom stock pot over medium heat.

3

4

When the foam has cooked off the butter, add flour and whisk vigorously to a smooth paste. This is call a “roux.”

5

Continue whisking slowly until roux becomes deep brown in color. You know when your roux is done by the roasted nutty smell.

Add hot stock, one cup at a time (the first will create a thick paste…press on) whisking in each until smooth.

6

Once all your stock is incorporated, keep whisking at a lower simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add hot water (again, a cup at a time) until you reach the desired consistency.

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

*You can also use milk, just make sure it’s hot. Rule of thumb – never add cold liquid to a hot one (especially milk, as it will curdle.)
7
MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

*Simple Turkey Stock
2 whole turkey thighs and/or necks, skin on
Salt and pepper
6 cloves of peeled garlic
2 tsp. whole peppercorns
1/2 cup butter
1 lg. yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 lg. Carrots, roughly chopped
1 stalk each: rosemary, sage, thyme
2 bay leaves
8 cups of water

Preheat over to 350F

Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper. And roast about 40 minutes, until skin is a deep golden brown.

Best turkey gravy ever

Left/Center: Turkey thighs and necks, roasted for stock. Right: Brined turkey thighs ready for dinner!

Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy-bottom stock pot over medium heat. Add peppercorns and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes, stirring, to infuse the butter. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and sauté until carrots begin to brown.

Add water and bring to a simmer.

Add fresh herbs (whole) and bay leaves.

Perfect Chicken Stock

Add roasted turkey thighs and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by 1/2. Strain your stock and discard the herb, bones, skin, and veggie remnants.

http://i0.wp.com/hautemealz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Wing-tip-chicken-stock4.jpg

Roughly chop the meat, and return it to the stock (optional, but great for gravy). Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.

http://i2.wp.com/hautemealz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/broth6.jpg

11/21/16

Chef Perry’s Perfect Turkey Brine

Simple Turkey Brine

Always, always, always brine your turkey!

There, I feel better now…

This is a simple overnight brine that will yield an amazingly moist and delicious turkey. One gallon is good for a  15 to 20-pound bird, and works best for fresh turkeys. Check the label of your turkey and make sure it hasn’t been “injected” with any kind of “solution” (ie: plain iodized salt water…ick.)

Trust me, this brine, combined with a properly cooked turkey (try my Perfect Roast Turkey in 90 Minutes) will make you a Thanksgiving legend!

Perfect 90 Minute Turkey

Perfect 90 Minute Turkey

1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 whole cloves
4 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 stalk fresh rosemary
1 stalk fresh sage leaves
1 stalk fresh thyme leaves
2 cups apple juice

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and sugar and stir until completely dissolved; bring water back to a boil. Add cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary, sage and thyme to the water, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook mixture at a simmer for about 20 minutes.

Simple Turkey BrineAdd apple juice, and refrigerate brine until completely cooled. Then add to a container to completely submerge turkey. Brine 8-10 hours, or overnight.

Important: Rinse turkey thoroughly after brining, and before roasting.

By the way, you can buy you fresh herb separately, but many stores carry them in these convenient “poultry herbs” pre-packs, especially around the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

11/3/16
the difference between stuffing & dressing

The difference between dressing and stuffing

the difference between stuffing & dressing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I posted a very brief chef’s rant on this subject a couple of days ago, and I was amazing to learn how many people actually didn’t know the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”.

So…

It’s only “stuffing” if you cook it INSIDE the bird. If you cook it OUTSIDE the bird, it’s “dressing” (A dressing is placed around the protein on a plate or platter, to “dress” the dish.)

Want some more great holiday tips and recipes? Check out or free Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide!

Typically, I do both…what doesn’t fit inside the turkey is baked in a dish. Then we mix the two together to spread the tasty flavor if the turkey drippings throughout.

Doesn’t stuffing from inside the bird make you sick?

Oh, and I had a friend on FaceBook ask: I always thought stuffing was the best way to give everyone salmonella for thanksgiving, what are your thoughts?”

My response:

Nah, but then I don’t think that Elvis was abducted by aliens and is still alive on the planet Zorb, either.

The stuffing myth is based on the stuffing staying in the “danger zone” for an extended period of time.

MY  KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

newsletter:

The three rules of safe stuffing:

1. Never stuff a bird with cold stuffing, as the meat will dry out long before the stuffing is cooked. Always stuff with cooked (or at least heated) stuffing,

2. Stuffing should be COOKED in the bird, not LEFT in it. Remove stuffing from the bird while still hot, and serve separately.

3. Not quite as important as the first two, but not a bad idea…once you remove the stuffing from the bird, spoon it into a casserole dish and pop it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn) or until it reaches an internal temp of 165F.

The added bonus to this step is you get a lovely, golden, breadcrumb crust across the whole surface.

Thanksgiving stuffing in muffin pans

If you want to fancy this up a bit, brown the stuffing in a muffin pan, and serve individually.

So, no…I’m not concerned with the “no stuffing” myth, follow the safety rules, and you’ll be fine.

Personally, I’d be more worried about getting sick from a grocery store turkey! 😉

A better way

By the way, there is a third option, which I feel…in my not-so-humble opinion…trumps both of the aforementioned styles. Check it out in yesterday’s “Perfect Turkey” post!

This has been a public service announcement, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political griping and Starbucks bashing… :)

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

10/29/16

Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide

Here’s my ultimate guide to a fantastic, and low-stress Thanksgiving.

50 pages of my best tips & tricks and favorite recipes!

Enjoy this free guide, and from everyone at SimplySmartDinnerPlans and MY KITCHEN Outreach, have a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving!

Chef Perry

Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide

Click here to download this free e-Report!


 
Here’s what’s inside…

Tips & Techniques
10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips, Thawing Your Thanksgiving Turkey, Perfect Holiday Wine Pairings, What are Giblets (and what do I do with them?),
The difference between dressing and stuffing

Thanksgiving Menu Plan & Shopping List
Aromatic Brined Turkey,  Garlic Mushroom Stuffing, Best-Ever Mashed Potatoes,  Old Fashioned Giblet Gravy, Simple Grilled Asparagus,  Roasted Cranberry Brussels Sprouts,  Cream Cheese Shrimp Dip,  Caprese Tomato Bites, Pumpkin Praline Pie,  Timeline and Notes,  Shopping List

Additional Recipes
Holiday Turkey Explosion, Thanksgiving Breakfast Sausage Roll-Ups, Traeger Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham, Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham, Old Fashioned Russet Potato Pie, Sweet Potato Gratin Stacks, Honey Ginger Carrots

Post-Thanksgiving Dishes
Thai Turkey Soup, Roast Turkey Risotto, Ham & 15 Bean Soup, Ham, Eggs & Cheese Breakfast Bagel, Quick Cobb Salad. Fried Red Potatoes & Ham, Ham & Gruyere Sandwich

How MY KITCHEN Outreach Works (the Reader’s Digest version…)

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

03/26/16
Classic Easter Recipes

Easter Ham Dinner

Classic Easter Recipes

It’s almost Easter! Here’s my traditional menu…Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham, Sweet Potato Gratin Stacks, Roasted Garlic Asparagus, and Chocolate Peanut-Butter Pot de Creme!

Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham

I love just about any combination of spicy and sweet, and this peach-ginger glazed ham recipe is no exception.

My wife has informed me that this is the only ham recipe I am to use for Easter, from now on!

Sweet Potato Gratin Stacks

Sweet Potato Gratin Stacks

This might be my favorite side dish, unless I’m alone, and then I just might eat the whole pan straight from the muffin tins with a plastic fork…

Garlic roasted asparagus

Garlic Roasted Asparagus

I love this way of preparing asparagus. The flavors work together enhancing each other, and the irresistible addition of garlic mellows and sweetens as it bakes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pot de Creme

Given the French name, and silky smooth consistency, this can be served as a hoity-toity dessert, but it’s really pretty darn simple to make…

 

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

12/19/15
Ham Stuff Pork Chops with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This week’s dinner plans are out!


Hey everyone,

Check your inboxes, because this week’s MY KITCHEN Newsletter just went out, with your link and password to delicious dinner recipes for every night of the week, and your itemized grocery shopping list!

My favorite from this week’s menus: Ham Stuffed Pork Chops with Garlic-Mashed Potatoes!

Also featured in this week’s plan is our Ultimate Christmas Dinner menu, with chef-tested recipes for Salt-Brined Roast Turkey, Garlic Mushroom Stuffing, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry BBQ Sauce, Simple Grilled Asparagus, Feather Rolls, and Pumpkin Praline Pie!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

Ham Stuff Pork Chops with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ham Stuffed Pork Chops with Garlic-Mashed Potatoes

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

12/18/15
Ultimate Christmas Dinner Recipes

Ultimate Christmas Feast

Ultimate Christmas Dinner Recipes

Merry Christmas everybody!

My favorite part about preparing this menu (besides the gut-busting feast that follows) is the memories it brings back. This was Christmas at my house every year growing up.

  • Salt Brined Roast Turkey
  •  Garlic Mushroom Stuffing Garlic
  • Mashed Potatoes
  •  Giblet Gravy
  •  Cranberry BBQ Sauce
  •  Simple Grilled Asparagus
  •  Feather Rolls
  •  Pumpkin Praline Pie

Just a note…I will never…I mean never…roast another chicken or turkey without brining it first! The differences in the flavor, the tenderness, and the juiciness of the meat are indescribable.

Recipes

The best brined turkey recipe

 

The Perfect 90 Minute Roast Turkey

(Oh, and want to have this beautiful bird cooked and ready for the table in less than 2 hours? Check out our video post: “Perfect Roast Turkey in 90 Minutes!“)

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey For the brine:
  •  1 cup kosher salt
  •  1 cup of honey
  •  1 quart turkey stock
  •  1 quart boiling water
  •  2 tablespoon black pepper
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  •  1 gallon heavily iced water

 For the aromatics:

  •  1 red apple, sliced
  •  2 med pears, sliced
  •  1 onion, sliced
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  1 cup water
  •  4 sprigs rosemary
  •  6 leaves sage
  •  Canola oil

 2 to 3 days before roasting: Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.


Combine the stock, water, salt, honey, peppercorns, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.

Remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

How to brine a turkeyEarly on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine.

If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack, breast up, inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, pears, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey, breast up, on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes, watching closely as it browns. Flip and insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.

A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.

Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 20-30 minutes before carving.

Serve with cranberry bbq sauce on the side (optional).

 

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids through our MY KITCHEN Program!

 

https://burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/img_4443.jpg

 

Perry’s Garlic Mushroom Stuffing
2 pkg Unseasoned Stuffing Mix, 13 oz each
2 cubes sweet cream butter
2 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 cups mushrooms, thick-sliced
4 cups turkey stock
2 cups cooked turkey and giblets, shredded
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
pepper to taste

Generously butter a disposable turkey roasting pan

Melt 1 cube of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery and saute 5 minutes, add mushrooms and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the pepper, sage, and shredded meat* Don’t add salt – the brined stock will make it salty enough.

Place the crumbs in a large bowl, add meat and veggie mixture and mix well. Stir in turkey stock* 1/4 cup at a time. The mixture should be moist, but not mushy.

Press the mixture into the roasting, reserving 1/4 cup for gravy. Dot the top with remaining butter, and cover with foil.

*Stock and meat: I usually buy a half-dozen extra turkey thighs, and brine them with the turkey. Rinse and place in a stock pot with the giblets and neck from the turkeys. Cover with cold water (about 6 cups) and bring to a simmer, covered. Simmer 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary to maintain 8 cups of liquid.

Remove meat, cool, and shred, disposing of any bones. Don’t add salt – brining will make it salty enough. Allow liquid to cool then separate the fat from the broth. Use half of each for the stuffing, and the remainder for the Giblet Gravy.

 

Vickie’s Favorite Garlic Mashed Potatoes
7 pounds russet potatoes
4 tablespoons fine sea salt
32 fluid ounces (4 cups) half-and-half
32 fluid ounces (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
1 cube sweet cream butter, melted
12 cloves garlic, crushed
12 ounces grated Asiago cheese

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, and cover with milk and broth (add more of each, in equal amounts to cover, if necessary.) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the butter and the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat.. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off extra fluid, reserving. Mash and add the garlic-butter mixture and asiago cheese, add reserved fluid, as needed, to reach desired consistency.

Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve with Giblet Gravy.

Giblet GravyGrandpa Frank’s Giblet Gravy
Giblets/reserved meat from turkey, cooked
4 cups turkey stock
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 heaping tablespoons reserved uncooked stuffing mixture
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
Freshly ground pepper

Using a sauce-pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the shredded meat and giblets, poultry seasoning, and raw stuffing to the mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, and add to the boiling stock, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add pepper, to taste.

Cranberry Barbeque Sauce
1 Can Cranberry Sauce (jellied).
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Jalapeño, seeded, rinsed, and finely diced
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Yellow Mustard

Empty cranberry sauce into 2 quart saucepan, whisk, add the remaining ingredients, whisk again, and cook, over medium heat, until simmering.

Cook until the mixture is thick like barbecue sauce.

Grilled-Asparagus

Simple Grilled Asparagus
3 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled
12 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoon salt

Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle oil and lemon juice over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn again.

Grill asparagus for 5 minutes over hot coals or on your gas grill. Each minute or so, roll each spear 1/4 turn. Asparagus should begin to brown in spots (indicating that the natural sugars are caramelizing) but should it not be allowed to char. Dripping oil may cause flare-ups. Keep a glass, or spray bottle of water handy to spritz on coals, if necessary.

Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Feather Rolls
2 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 to 14 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, creamer, salt and 5 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 24 pieces. Shape each into a roll. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes (while pies are finishing) or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen.

Pumpkin Praline Pie
3 cups pumpkin puree
8 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups evaporated milk
2 prepared 10-inch pie crust (uncooked)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firm butter
1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, spice, and evaporated milk until well combined.

Divide the pumpkin mixture between the pie crusts. In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the brown sugar, flour, and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and sprinkle on top of the pies.

Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes, until all but the very center of the pies are set. Remove and let cool before serving with fresh whipped cream.

11/23/15
Best Ham Leftovers Recipes

My 5 Favorite Leftover Ham Recipes

Best Ham Leftovers Recipes

So, yesterday we took a look at my favorite ham recipe, Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham, now let’s take a look at what to do with all of these delicious piggy leftovers…you will have leftover’s right?

Leftover ham recipesNot buying twice as much ham as you need for the holiday meal…total rookie mistake.

Sure, you could do three or four reheats of Thanksgiving dinner (I do this at least once for lunch) but don’t pass up the chance to add some of these great dishes into the menu plan for the week following the holidays…

My 5 Favorite Ham Recipes

leftover ham and bean soup recipeHam and bean soup – Use the ham bone and some leftover ham to make a hearty soup. I like to add a 15 Bean Soup Mix. Soak the beans overnight, so that they’re ready to use the next day. Saute a large diced yellow onion, a diced red bell pepper, and – if you like a little spice – a diced jalapeno.

Simmer until done, uncovered, adding water as needed. Serve with lots of soft, warm bread.

leftover ham brekfast bagel recipeHam and eggs – I love breakfast for dinner! Grill the ham lightly in butter, and pair with some toast or a toasted everything bagel and a little Gruyere cheese, and you’ve got a quick, and awesome dinner.

Fancy it up by making a Denver omelet!

 

leftover ham cobb salad

Cobb salad – Diced ham (as well as any other meats and cheeses you might have lying around Romaine and iceberg lettuce, red onion, olives, avocados, chopped bacon…you name it! Oh, and just one guy’s opinion, but it ain’t Cobb salad without some of those little mini corn things!

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

 

Homemade Hawaiian pizza – dice the ham, and follow this Basic Pizza Dough recipe – Fresh pineapple is a bit more work, but totally worth it! Top the dough with a little tomato paste, some shredded Italian blend cheese and pop into a pre-heated 450 oven for 10-15 minutes. Or, grab a pizza stone and follow our recipe and made some next-level grilled pizza!

Fried potatoes and ham – Hash, as we call it down south, is a big favorite at our house. I like to mix the fried potatoes with onions, mushrooms, and pieces of ham, but you can serve the ham on the side, too. Sprinkle with a little cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream. You can use something healthier than bacon grease to fry the potatoes…but it won’t be as good.

I know, I said 5…but I can’t leave out my favorite…

Ham sandwiches – This old standby is great for lunch. Ham, cheddar, bread, and butter…simple and perfect! Fancy it up by adding a little sweet-hot mustard in sliced Italian bread, swapping the cheddar for Gruyere, and grilling it until golden brown on both sides. Bene!

So, what’s YOUR favorite “Holiday leftover recipe?”

 

 

11/22/15
Traeger Peach Ginger Ham

Traeger Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham

Traeger Peach Ginger Ham

I love just about any combination of spicy and sweet, and this peach-ginger glazed ham recipe is no exception.

My wife has informed me that this is the only ham recipe I am to use for Easter, from now on! :)

Chef Perry
www.joinmykitchen.com

Smoked Holiday Ham with Peach-Ginger Glaze

1 (10 pound) fully-cooked, sliced, bone-in ham
2 cups peach preserves
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs soy sauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh ginger root. minced
1/2 cup apple juice

Unwrap the ham and place it, cut-side down, on a flat roasting rack.

When you’re ready to cook, turn Traeger to the “Smoke” setting, with the lid open, for 5 minutes or until the fire is established.

Preheat to 300F (lid closed).

Smoking a ham in Traeger

Place the ham (on the roasting rack) on the Traeger grill grate and smoke for 1 hour.

While the ham is smoking, mix together the mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, apple juice and peach preserves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and then stir in the ginger.

Reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the ham, rack and all, on a foil lined baking sheet, and return to Traeger.

Glazed ham on Traeger recipe

Baste ham with the peach glaze. Continue basting every 30 minutes until the ham is richly glazed and the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees, 1-1/2 hours more.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

30-45 minutes before the ham is done, turn the heat up to 400, to “set” the glaze.

Remove ham from smoker and bring it (on the rack & pan) inside. Carefully turn the ham on it’s side, allowing the sliced to fan, and brush liberally with the remaining glaze.

Tent loosely in foil, and let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving.