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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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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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Cake-Topped Blueberry Dessert

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 T butter

3 T shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp grated orange peel

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup orange juice

In a saucepan, combine the blueberries, brown sugar and butter; cook for 5 minutes or until saucy. Pour into an 8″ square baking dish coated with Pam. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and orange peel. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with orange juice, beating just until combined.

Drop batter by spoonfuls over blueberry mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

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Jello Poke Cake

beautiful image from

This is my favorite summer dessert, and you can make it many different ways. Here’s how I prefer it.

Bake a white cake in a 13×9 pan according to box directions. Cool.

Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake.

Make a box of strawberry jello (4 servings size), except cut the cold water in 1/2 and don’t bother pouring it into a mold or refrigerating it.

Pour the jello liquid all over the cake. Frost with a tub of whipped topping. Refrigerate overnight.

*I red jello the cake to death. No pretty red marbleization for me. Give me that jello soaked goodness instead.

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Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/2 cup chopped apple

2 T shredded cheddar

1 T Italian-style dried bread crumbs

1 T butter

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup water

1 T water

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 T chopped fresh parsley (or garnish) (but seriously, who adds garnish?)

1. Combine apple, cheese, and bread crumbs.

2. Flatten chicken between wax paper to 1/4″ thickness.  Divide apple mixture between breasts and roll up each breast. Secure with toothpicks.

3. Melt butter in a 7″ skillet over med-high heat.  Brown stuffed chicken. Add wine and 1/4 cup water. Cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink.

4. Transfer chicken to platter. Combine 1 T water & cornstarch; stir into juices in pan. Stir and cook until thickened. Pour gravy over chicken. Garnish with parsley (if you’re fancy like that).

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