bacon-wrapped turkey meatloaf with avocado

I’m not much of a meal planner.  I honestly open my fridge around 5:30 and play a little game of ‘michelle is on Chopped’ 

I’m easily entertained 😉

A few weeks ago I opened said fridge and saw ground turkey.  And bacon. And I had an avocado. 

Friends… I give you 

  

bacon-wrapped turkey meatloaf with avocado

2-3 slices of bread ( I used white wheat )

1/4-1/2 cup of milk 

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 

handful  of fresh parsley

1 pound ground turkey

1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage 

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 eggs

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 

1 tsp chili garlic sauce 

6 slices of bacon 

Start by placing  the bread in a bowl in a bowl and pour milk over.  Allow to set for 5 minutes then massage. It’s should be a soggy mess.  ( this’ll keep your meatloaf moist) 

  

Season with salt and pepper 

  Add the rest of the ingredients, except bacon and avocado. 


Mix well, but don’t over-mix, you don’t want it too dense. 

  

Free form mixture into a meatloaf shape. 


Wrap bacon around meatloaf, leaving a little bit of space between each slice 

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until internal temp reaches 165. 

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes 

  

 

Carefully remove from baking dish and place on serving platter. 


Slice up avocado and lay slices on top. 

  

Sprinkle with sea salt ….Slice and serve! 


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turkey-stuffed peppers with dried cranberries,pine nuts and feta

today’s recipe comes to you courtesy of a still rainy day and a trip to the store that had me wandering and tapping into my inner rumbly tumbly. 

It all started when I saw watermelon on sale…  And where there’s watermelon,there’s feta. And since I was buying the feta, I decided to include it in my stuffed peppers.  A quick look around the kitchen when I got home, and voila! 

Turkey-Stuffed peppers with dried cranberries, pine nuts and feta 

1 pound ground turkey breast 

1 cup cooked whole grain rice 

1/2 cup dried cranberries 

1/4 cup red wine 

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 

1/4 cup pine nuts ( you could sub a less expensive nut, maybe walnuts? I just happened to have these in my fridge ) 

3 peppers 

Big handful of flat leaf parsley 

1 large egg 

A few gratings of nutmeg 

1tsp ground cinnamon 

1/2 tsp ground ginger 

  

Start my charring your peppers.   Simply place over a gas fire or under the broiler. You can skip this step, but I really think it adds flavor.  Using tongs, careful place on cutting board allowing to cool. 

  

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in small cast skillet over medium heat.  Watch carefully..  They burn quickly. 

Pour wine over cranberries and heat up either in small pot on  the stove or in the microwaves. This reconstitutes them and add tons of flavor 

When peppers are cool enough to handle, slice in half and remove seeds. Place peppers in a lightly oiled baking dish . 

Chop parsley fine and mix with turkey, egg, rice,pine nuts, feta, cranberries ( with juice) and spices,  season with salt and pepper. 

Divide mixture into 6 portions and carefully stuff each pepper . 

  

Cover with foil and bake at 350 until internal temp is 165. Remove foil, sprinkle with a bit more feta and let cook an additional 5 minutes.  

Serve alongside a salad! 

  

A balsamic glazed like I used in Goat cheese and beet salad would have been perfect as a drizzle on top, but I was surprisingly out of balsamic vinegar!   Must buy some soon! 

Other stuffed recipes 

Pork stuffed peppers with raisins and pine nuts

Caprese- stuffed tomatoes

Lightened up cabbage rolls

Chicken sausage stuffed peppers

thanksgiving 2014

How on Earth is it Thanksgiving time already? I swear it just turned y2k..

Like yesterday… right?

For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you may recall that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only the day itself, but the days leading up to the feast.

Life has changed drastically for us in the last few years, and the excitement of my whole family coming over is no longer a reality since we live so far away from any family.

I’m grateful this year that our youngest child was able to travel home for the week. She arrived from Providence last Saturday, and it’s been great to just have her here

My RYAN is halfway across the world studying in Scotland for a semester, and jamanda will be in Florida celebrating together. We will be missing the three of
them so much

This time of year can be very exciting, but also very depressing, depending of what the earlier part of your year had in store for you.

I have many friends and family going through tough times for one reason or another. It makes me sad, and I think about their individual situations a lot.

It makes me really stop and appreciate the little things in life, even when I think I’m having a bad day.

As we go forth in this holiday season, just take a second to think of others’ and send good wishes, whatever method works for you.

Tomorrow is big cooking day ( click the above Thanksgiving link if you have no idea what I’m talking about)

I decided to start a little early this year. I picked up my bird ( tiny.. 10 pounds… How do I even cook a turkey that small?) and made my brine IMG_1080.JPG

I’ve been BRININGfor about 10 years, and wouldn’t dream of skipping this important step.

There are so many reasons to do so.. I can elaborate if you’d like..

One of the coolest reasons? IMG_1082.JPG

I brine in this cooler.. I bought specifically for this purpose.. And what’s super-cool about this? My turkey never ever goes into the fridge! It frees up all of that precious fridge real – estate!

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Here’s this years’ bath 😁 ( with my yittle bird in there)

I’ve roasted the chestnuts

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And getting ready to peel them for dressing #1 tomorrow

I’ve made my creamed onions ( my favorite! )

And I’ve made my CRANBERRY SAUCE.. Although this year I made it in my vitamix… And it was awesomely easy and perfect!

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This years’ cranberry sauce is extra-special….

I received a knock on the door yesterday and a neighbor was holding a package addressed to me. It was from a dear friend, Laurie ..

Laurie sent me 2 pounds of organic cape cod cranberries and Eastham turnip! THANK YOU, Laurie! Oxox

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I am so grateful, as It was hard to find Massachusetts cranberries (which I’ve eaten my whole life ). ( last year my mom sent me some last mintue.. Thanks, mom! )

The other thing that I couldn’t find last year was Bell’s seasoning.. Something else With which I’ve grown up.

It took me 5 stores… But guess what I found today!!!

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It may not seem like a big deal, but to me it truly is.

I’m very exciting to make my two stuffings tomorrow!

I think in an overwhelming way I am thankful for not only my family, but my friends as well. I have some pretty fantastic friends, from all stages of my life. I have friends that I haven’t seen in almost 30 years, ( Wowzers!) and yet, we chat like it was just yesterday.

I have friends who are always there, regardless of time zone differences, and that I truly can talk to about anything, and vice-versa.

I have friends that I’ve met in the last year that I can’t imagine not having in my life. I look forward to spending time with everyone.

I have friends who have had layovers at DIA and because we are so close to the airport, I’ve been able to visit with them

I even had the pleasure of traveling to Austin this past September to stand next to a friend as she married the love of her life…. I’ve been friends with for years, but did not actually meet face to face until her wedding dress rehearsal!

If you know me then you know that I am who I am.

And I am truly blessed.

I’m working hard to keep TRADITION alive, despite all of our recent changes…

Like I said in my post about traditions ( click tradition link if I’ve lost you ) .. You don’t really realize when they are happening..

And in the same way, you don’t realize how dramatically we go through the stages of our lives until we are far into the next stage.

As always, thanks for reading. I’d love to hear some of your families’ traditions 🙂

Oxox
Michelle

Colorado whiskey-peach glazed smoked turkey breast

friends. I have a recipe for you. I have a recipe that has SO much flavor, it’s crazy.

 

Last summer, Scott and I bought a Big green Egg. For those who don’t know what that is, Its a Grill/smoker/pizza oven.

It’s a dream.  I’ve wanted one for years. 

It’s my personal ‘Green Monster’ … a little bit o’ Bosssston right here on my back porchbig green egg

Since owning this sweet little darling, I have become more adventurous with my outdoor cooking. I actually cook outdoors all winter long.

 

Snow storm? Kewl…. let’s fire that baby up a get a steak on there!

I was slow to start to smoke things, but since I’ve actually learned, I’m hooked.  ( or as my friend from River Cat Chili says, I’m smokin’ crazy)

Since Scott was home doing taxes this weekend ( big time boo 😦 ) I was able to get out of the house to go food shopping ( must be something wrong with me,becauseI REALLY enjoy grocery shopping! )

I didn’t have a plan

I didn’t have a list

I was just so excited to get out of the house after being pup-bound all week

( our girl is healing really well 😉 Fenwayall decked out in her Easter-inspired bandana 🙂

 

I stumbled upon a half turkey breast and that was it. I knew what I was doing.

sort of.

I began by brining the turkey ta-ta.

I used kosher salt,( 1/2 cup)

agave ( 1/8 cup ) ( you can swap out for sweetener of your choice)

pepper (dash)

and herbs de Provence ( 1 tablespoon )

If you want to make this, use what you have, just start with the salt/ water/ sugar mixture

 

I boil about 1/2 cup water, mix with the salt and agave , then add about a gallon of ice water to chill mixture and spices of choice.

In the past I’ve added various citrus, fresh herbs.. use what you have.. make it your own!

 

Brine turkey breast for 24 hours in the fridge.

about an hour or two before cooking, soak wood chips in water ( you need the water to create the steam to create the smoke 😉 )  I found pecan wood chunks and that was what I used. Check your hardware store, they are lousy with different flavors…. all of which I want to try

I set up my smoker so that it was at a steady 225 degrees

NOTE * if you do not have a smoker, you can bring your grill to this low temp or your oven and soak wood chips of choice and make a foil packet with      the chips and a bit of water. this will create the smoke and as long as you grill top is closed and over door is shut, the smoke will create a smoky taste in your food. Just make sure that the temp stays low.. 250 max.

I inserted a meat thermometer ( an absolute necessity )  

 

and place turkey breast on grill, add the soaked ships to the fire and shut the lid… and inhale.

( your neighbors will come out of the woodwork 😉 )

smoked turkey breast

 

The finished temp on the turkey ( or any poultry, including ground) needs to be 165 degrees.

When the temp reached 155, I placed some Peach- whiskey jam in am oven safe stoneware dish and place next to turkey so that it can melt a little

 

colorado peach whiskey jamthis is what I used. Scott and I picked this up at the farmers’ market this summer ( along with some other fun flavors  jalapeno-tequilia anyone ? )

 

you can buy it Here or you can use peach jam and add your own whiskey.

It is a bit on the pricey side, but trust me, this is like no other jam that you’ve ever tried. And a little bit goes a loong way.

 

smoked turkey and baby carrotsafter about 5 mintues, baste the trukey with the melted jam, ( reserve a little for the carrots )

remove stoneware and add some carrots

I  peeled baby carrots , tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de Provence  and place around the turkey

 

close lid and when temp comes up to 165, using tongs, remove turkey from smoker ( don’t pull the thermometer out just yet )

 

Place under broiler for about 4 minutes to get a final crispy crust

 

place on cutting board to rest and close lid to finish cooking carrots ( I like mine al dente.  cook to what your preference) when cooked to your desired crunch, glaze carrots with remaining melted jam

 

Colorado peach whiskey glazed turkey breast

 

look at that baby!

When ready to serve, cut the entire breast off of the bone by carefully insert knife along the breast bone, then slice horizontally so that each piece has a small bit of that amazing glazed crust

 

peach glazed turkey breast

 

here’s a napkin for you 😉

 

A friend asked me recently what was the biggest thing that I took  away from culinary school

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  The number one thing that I learned?

 

I love to write. One of the core classes that I had to take was English Lit and I was scared to death. I hadn’t written since high school ( I was 32 when  I attended J & W )  My first paper that I had to write was about myself.  I approached it in the 3rd person and wrote a summary of my life on 2 pages

When the professor handed it back to me he said, ” I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, this was one of the best papers that I have ever had the pleasure of grading”

those were his exact words. I’ll never forget them.

From then on  I looked forward to every writing assignment.

 

The second thing that i took away.. not so much recipes, but Flavor Profiles. I understand what flavors complement each other. How to take simple ingredients and bring them together to make some tasty food.

 

Like here.. you notice that I used the herb de Provence in both the turkey brine and the carrots. I used the same glaze on both.

I made a kale salad to go along with this, and added golden raisins and slivered almonds, adding about a teaspoon of the jam to the dressing to bring the whole dish together.

 

I learned how to make a dish mine and to have fun in the kitchen!

So go ahead, use some of my recipes as a guide, but fins a way to put your personal touch on them. You’ll start to see how much fun it can be and you’ll go from making dinner to making a little bit of love on a plate.

bon apetit!

taking a bath..

here we are friends… Thanksgiving week.  For some it is exciting, for some it is a difficult time of the year.

 

I have been on both sides if that coin throughout the years…I wish that I had advice for friends of mine having a tough time this year.. just know that I am thinking of you 🙂

 

If you have been following me for a while, or happen to know me personally, then you know that cooking  Thanksgiving dinner is my FAVORITE thing to do in the world!  To me it’s not a chore, it’s a privilege. The days leading up to Turkey day are just as much of a holiday for me as the actual day, You can read more about that  HERE..

 

Today is the Tuesday before, which I have dubbed ‘ big shopping day’…. NO not he day where everyone comes out at 1 am in their pajamas and runs over fellow human beings also in the holiday ‘spirit’ in order to save a buck on GI joe…. I;m talking about the day that I get up very early, go shopping for all of the food that I will need to prepare my meal.

 

Being organized is key. If you know me then you know that organization … yeah… not so much for me, *I* am a multi-tasker. A multi tasker of epic proportions…

 

in fact, while I am typing this, I am doing laundry, wrapping Christmas presents ( the 2 that I have) talking to Ali, listening to some pretty music and bandaging up my finger.

 

All at once.   So to calm my self to a place where I focus on *JUST* shopping for this one meal… it’s a challenge.  But I work myself up for it… and each year I succeed.

 

early in the morning, the grocery store employees are really nice… not that they aren’t nice later in the day, but they are tired..  really tired.  And who could blame them?

You also met other nice ‘early morning’ people… I met a lady this morning who went out of her way to tell me what a great buy the sweet potatoes were.  And where to find them.  I told her about the nutritional benefits of them, next thing you know, we were having coffee and we booked a trip to the Bahamas for a weekend retreat together.

 

just kidding.   everything beyond the coffee part was silly….  but people can be so nice sometimes that it makes you remember why you are thankful.

 

*****  she’s a- rambling again*****…….  ok.. down to business.

on big shopping day, I don’t really do a lot of cooking.. a lot of it is prep….

 

I do make my CRANBERRY SAUCE….. ( which by the way the recipe was from my old friend Mr.s M  who NEVER steered me wrong with a recipe.

A few years back, Scott and I decided  to try to brine our bird.  Brining does a lot of things…. the salt brings out the impurities, the flavor of what you brine with gets taken into the bird, and the salt helps hole the moisture , making for a very moist, delicious bird… But there is one extra benefit that we discovered after a few years of trial and error.

 

stick with me here….here is what is in my basic brine

Kosher salt ( very important to not use baking salt) I use Morton’s in the big blue box

Sugar…  I used brown sugar

peppercorns

citrus…  assorted.. have fun with it!

I onion, peeled & chopped

 

fresh thyme, parsley,  sage, and Rosemary

 

In the past we have tried to mix the brine in a large bowl and keep in in the fridge….   one year we brined in the sink, taking turns to get up and add ice al night long ( to keep the temp cold enough.

 

then somewhere along the way, we learned about this….

 

to you it may look like a cooler, but for our turkey of the year, it is a deluxe bathtub…..

I start by boiling about a cup of water…  add the salt and the sugar to the *clean* cooler then add the boiling water and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

 

cut the citrus in wedges and squeeze the juice in with the mix & drop the rinds right in there.  Rough chop the herbs, dump the peppercorns and fill the cooler halfway with ice.

Next, rinse the bird ( by now you should have named him…..  our bird this year is Theodore ) and careful submerge him in his custom made bath.

 

The only thing that is REALLY important here  you need to keep the temp 38 degrees or lower…  this is easy to do by adding ice cubes along the way…  just use a thermometer .. because you are using a cooler, the temp stays more regulated than if you used a bowl or bucket… Just make sure that you put the cover on tightly…

 

 

Now here Teddy is, all soaking…and you may be wondering.. what are the cranberries doing in there????  Truth is…  I ran out of ice and the temp wasn’t low enough…. but I did have an extra bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer……. so I added them, and presto, temp right where I wanted it to be 🙂

 

I usally brine for close to 48 hours.  anything for 24 on is fine.

 

the other cool thing about using a cooler, is that it frees up space in your fridge!  Teddy cam right from the store to his bath.. leaving my fridge open for all of the veggies that I look forward to preparing tomorrow!

 

sadly, after I got Teddy Bathing, I cut my finger pretty bad on broken glass in the basement.. timing couldn’t  be worse..  So I’m slacking on a little bit of the prep work this afternoon and taking it easy…..  but I have  all of the necessary things to wrap and protect it, so I’ll be ok.. and  full steam ahead in the morning!!

 

If you are cooking, have fun with it…. it you are a guest, have fun with that…. and if you are looking for a crazy after dinner tradition, come over to my house….  things get a little wierd Thanksgiving afternoon.

 

I can’t wait to share it all with you 🙂

 

be thankful <31

 

 

PST*****   Happy Birthday to my litte sister, Jodie!!!!!! whoo hoot!!!

 

 

 

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