04/17/14

Tips & Recipes for an Amazing Easter Dinner (and leftovers!)

It’s almost Easter!

Here are some of the best recipes, menus, and leftovers tips we’ve put together over the last few years…

Just click on the picture to view each post!

Happy Easter!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

Lamb Easter Dinner

Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb, Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat.

Easter Ham Dinner

Honey Baked Ham with Roasted New Potatoes & Green Beans

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

11/26/13

My family’s favorite brined turkey recipe

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Even my Mother-In-Law said this was the best turkey she’d ever had.

High praise, indeed!

I gotta say, if given a choice I will never, NEVER serve another turkey (or chicken) that has not been brined. The improvement in moistness, flavor, and general “cook-ability” makes it a no-brainer.

The aromatics make a huge difference as well. My wife had made it clear that the testing is over, THIS is our Thanksgiving turkey recipe from now on, and no modifications are allowed!

Aromatic Brined Turkey

* 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 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
* 1 gala apple, sliced
* 2 med Asian pears, sliced
* 1 orange, peeled and sliced
* 1 sweet 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, and pepper 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.

Early 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, orange, 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 155 degrees F.
  • A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 hours of roasting.
  • Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 30-45 minutes before carving.
02/13/13

Ham & Turkey Cassoulet

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hautemealz.com is more than just a business for us, it’s a means of helping and supporting our community and those who need us most, by doing what we love…feeding hungry folks. In fact, a significant portion of our subscription income sponsors and supports charities and non-profits that share this goal.

Today we had the opportunity to cook, once again, for some of our favorite people, the staff and visitors at The Father’s Heart Street Ministry, in Oregon City. On the menu today was Ham & Turkey Cassoulet (because, well…we had a ham and a turkey, lol).

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11/18/12

Highway Robbery! (Or…how to make your own breadcrumbs this year.)

I may have actually said a bad word at the grocery store today. I couldn’t help it…I was so shocked, it just slipped out, when I saw this…


Four and a half bucks for 13 OUNCES of breadcrumbs…BREADCRUMBS!

Breadcrumbs are dried bread, people! It takes roughly a loaf of fresh bread to make 13oz of the dry stuff. And that’s a loaf of cheap white or “wheat” bread…you know, like this:

That’s right, people are paying and extra $3.50 a bag to avoid the inconvenience of tossin’ slices of bread into a warm oven for a few minutes!

Have we completely lost our freakin’ minds???

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat you oven to 300. Lay you bread in a single layer on on your oven racks (remove from oven before pre-heating). Bake 10-15 minutes just just browned. You don’t want them dark, just get some of the moisture out of ’em.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  3. If you like the little squares, dice each slice in a 1-inch grid…but it’s not really necessary, you can just tear it into chunks. (Oh, and if you’re using these for a coating, instead of making stuffing, just toss the chunks into your food processor and give ’em a pulse.)
  4. Store bread crumbs in an airtight container or food storage bag for up to two weeks at room temperature or 2 months in the freezer.

Congratulations, all that sweat and toil just paid off…you have breadcrumbs!

Seriously though, you can have a lot of fun with making your own. Try stuffing a mustard-coated pork loin with a dressing made with dark Russian rye bread sometime…it’s lovely. My wife likes me to use a nice 12-18 grain whole-wheat bread for stuffing hens (can you imagine what these bozos would charge for THOSE breadcrumbs?)

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week.)

Oh, and if you’re concerned about not having that overly-saged “spice packet”, toss this mixture for each loaf’s worth of finished breadcrumbs.

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Just think, with the money you saved on stuffing…you can make another pumpkin pie! Woo-Hoo!

Have a great Thanksgiving folks!

-Chef Perry