Brine for Turkey

I simply wrote down Alton Brown’s recipe while watching a video clip from Good Eats.

In a large pot:

1 gallon vegetable broth (NOT the low sodium kind)

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 T whole peppercorns (optional)

1/2 T whole allspice berries (optional)

1/2 T crystallized (candied) ginger (optional)

Bring to a boil. Stir. Kill the heat. Bring to room temperature and then chill for 1-3 days.

Pour the chilled brine into a clean (obviously!) 5 gallon bucket. Add a gallon of heavily iced water.

Take the neck, giblets, thermometer and any other “parts” out of the turkey.

Place the bird breast-side down into the brine. (Head first.)

Place the bucket in a corner of your garage (assuming this is Thanksgiving and not a 4th of July meal!)–no need to even cover it. The ice water will keep your turkey fresh and the brine would kill any bacteria anyway.

Brine that big baby for 6-8 hours, turning it over halfway through.

Then roast, smoke or fry away for some super-moist turkey!


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Basic Smoothie

I often make smoothies but almost never use a recipe. As a result, sometimes they turn out great and other times…not so much. In honor of today’s perfectly executed smoothie, I thought I’d make a recipe:

2 bananas (I used one frozen, one not)

about 1 cup strawberries (they weren’t frozen)

about 1/3 cup frozen mango

a heaping cup of vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup orange juice

2 scoops Aria protein powder

It made two small smoothies for the kids and one giant smoothie for me.

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Dirty Rice

This photo is from at the end of this post.

The whole family liked this one, so I better not forget it. I just did what E-meals told me to. Buy a box of Dirty Rice mix. (Done–on sale!) Follow the directions on the box for mixing in 1 lb. of ground beef.  Serve.

I also did what they said and cooked asparagus–a vegetable my kids get in fist fights over because they love it so much. (Seriously. Well, seriously about loving asparagus–not so much about the fist fighting.)

In the future, however, I will see if Sprout’s carries an MSG-free version of Dirty Rice mix. Call me paranoid, but I feel a little guilty when I serve my children carcinogens.

(While doing an image search after writing this post, I saw this recipe from CBSOP that omits the boxed stuff altogether.)

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Creole Red Beans & Rice (Crockpot)

I forgot to type up this E-mealz recipe before their post was removed. We loved it, and it was not very spicy so it was suitable for young kids. I’ll do my best to remember it here:

In a crockpot combine:

1 lb dried red beans

16 oz sliced smoked sausage

1/2 onion, chopped

2-3 ribs of  celery, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped (the recipe called for one red and one green, but I used two red)

1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

7 cups water

Cook on high for seven hours.

Serve with rice and cornbread. Delicious!


Filed under Comfort Food, Crockpot, Kid friendly, Mike's favorite, No oven necessary.

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I got this recipe off of It was not spicy, which is good in our home with small kids. I’m sure you can alter the recipe in a number of ways to make it spicier. I served it with cheese quesadillas to dip in the soup.

In oil, saute until tender 1 cup of each:

chopped carrots

chopped onion

chopped celery.

Add a couple cloves minced garlic, a tiny bit of salt, and a bit of pepper.

Pour in 4 cans chicken broth (I used one box of chicken broth, which is really only 4 cups) and bring to a boil.

Add a can of diced tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, a packet of taco seasoning, and 1.5 lbs cooked and diced chicken breast.

Cut 8-10 corn tortillas into pieces and stir into soup. Let boil for 20 minutes until tortillas are incorporated into soup. Stir occasionally.

Lower heat and add 8 oz shredded cheese (I used two big handfuls of shredded cheddar) and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add 1 cup milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Comfort Food, Kid friendly, Mexican, No oven necessary., Soup

Fiesta Chowder

This recipe is from, and despite the many canned foods involved I really liked it. We cooked up a side of cornbread to go with the soup.

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 t minced garlic

2 T oil

2 cans chicken, drained

1 pkg fajita seasoning

15 oz can whole kernel corn

15 oz can black beans

14.5 oz can Mexican stewed tomatoes

4.5oz can chopped green chilies

3 cups water

1 bag “ready rice,” Spanish-style (I couldn’t find that, so I used “ready rice” in long grain)

10.75 oz can cheddar cheese soup

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add chicken and fajita seasoning; mix well.  Add corn, beans, tomatoes, chilies, water, and rice. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cheese soup and heat through.

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Mary Ann Chicken

My cousin, Mary Ann, makes this recipe. (Hence the creative name.)  Mike thinks it is too lemon-y, so I don’t cook it exactly as you’re about to see it.

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white rice

1 tsp grd cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

16 oz can garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed)

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 T chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, rice, cumin, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is tender and rice is golden brown (about 4 minutes). Stir in garbanzo beans and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low, cover and cook until rice is tender (about 15 minutes). Fluff with fork.

In a large bowl combine chicken, lemon juice, salt, cilantro and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add rice mixture to chicken mixture and combine.

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