Good Gravy!

 

 

Turkey just isn’t the same without a nice rich gravy.  Here’s how I make mine.

1. After you put your turkey on the carving board, you’ll see you have a lot of delicious drippings left in the pan. Measure out 8 TBS. and discard the rest. (Don’t pour it down the sink unless you want a clogged drain!)

2. Return the 8 TBS you measured out to the pan. Stir, scraping up all the delicious browned bits of skin and turkey that remained stuck on the bottom of the pan. These have a lot of flavor.

3. Add enough flour to make a thick paste, stirring until it’s smooth. I like using Wondra brand flour, because it’s very fine and doesn’t make lumps.

4. VERY gradually pour in about 4 cups of broth or stock, stirring constantly as it thickens.

5. If you want a richer, deeper color, stir in 1 tsp. Gravy Master, available in the spice aisle.

6. Salt and pepper to taste.

7. If you have any lumps, despite all the stirring, you can pour the gravy through a mesh sieve.

Enjoy!

Stay tuned later in the week. I’ll be running my first-ever contest, and one of my readers will win a great prize!

Let’s Talk Turkey!

A lot of people worry about cooking a whole turkey, but there’s no reason to worry at all!

Keep a few things in mind.

1. Count your guests. If you have 12 people, get a 12-pound turkey, 15 people, get a 15-pound turkey, and so on. You get the idea!

2. If you buy a frozen instead of fresh, leave plenty of time for it to defrost (About 2 full days for a 12-pound turkey. Defrost in the fridge. That’s the safest way!!)

3. Do not, not, not forget to remove the giblets before roasting! You can discard them or save them to make gravy later.

Here’s a nice basic recipe using fresh herbs.

  • 1 turkey (about 12-14 pounds)
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • a bunch of fresh thyme
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup melted margerine or butter
  • 1 tsp.  minced fresh sage
  • 1 tsp. minced chives
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • Rub  the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Place several  sprigs of thyme in cavity. In a large  roasting pan, place onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, and more thyme sprigs. Place the turkey, breast side up, over vegetables. Drizzle margerine or butter over the turkey and sprinkle with minced herbs.
  • Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 325° for 2-1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake 1-1/2 to 2 hours longer or until a meat thermometer reads 180°, basting every 20 minutes.
  • Cover and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving to let the juices settle. Discard bay leaves and use the pan drippings for gravy (Wondra brand flour is great for making a nice, smooth gravy. I’ll talk about that in my next post.)

Witch’s Hat Treat

Welcome one and all to my celebration of ghosts and goblins! Here’s a chilly treat to enjoy! (Thanks once again to the creative Sharon Bowers!)

Witch’s Hat Cones

Pistachio or green mint-chocolate-chip ice cream

Candy corn

Chocolate chips

Red or black licorice whips

Pointy suger cones

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and place rounded scoops of ice cream on it. Freeze until firm, at least one hour.

2. Allow  each person to decorate a scoop with licorice-whip hair, candy-corn nose, and chocolate-chip eyes. Top with a cone to mimic a hat. Enjoy!

Come Into My Web

The Halloween Countdown continues with another great recipe inspired by the book Ghoulish Goodies!

Choco-Spiders

6 ounces of chocolate chips

2 cups crunchy, thin chow mein noodles

Cinnamon red hots OR mini red M&Ms

1. Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper

2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. (If you need instructions, scroll down to the recipe for Swamp Creature Toes.)

3. Stir the crunchy noodles into the chocolate and drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the waxed paper. Use a toothpick to coax out a few noodles on each  to mimic legs.

4. Press in 2 red hots or mini M&Ms for eyes.

5. Chill and enjoy. These are addictive!

 

Dem bones

Welcome to the Halloween Countdown Extravaganza! Dem bones, dem bones, dem funny bones! These bones will tickle your funny one. Sweet and easy, they’ll be gone before you can say Happy Halloween!

Funny Bones

1 (12-once) package white chocolate chips (about two cups)

36 pretzel sticks of various sizes

72 mini-marshmallows (about one cup)

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper

2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (see Swamp Creature Toes recipe below  if you need instructions.)

3. Place a marshmallow at the end of each pretzel stick to mimic a bone shape.

4. Dip each “bone” into melted chocolate using a fork.

5. Place them on baking sheet and let cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

Lend me your ears–of corn, that is!

Hello blog readers! Welcome to the Hallowen Countdown Extravaganza! Ten more days and counting! WARNING!!! I’m doing only sweets and treats for the next few days, so for all you weight watchers, stay away!!!

Your famly and friends will swarm over these like flies.

Orange Popcorn Balls (These might really scare your dentist!)

10-12 cups of popcorn (use bagged or microwave or whatever’s easiest)

1 cup dry-roasted peanuts

1/2 cup gummy worms (optional)

3 TBS. butter

10 oz. marshmallows

red and yellow food coloring

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. In a bowl, combine the popcorn, peanuts, and gummy worms (if using).

2. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a pot over medium heat, stirring constantly.

3. add enough of the food coloring to get a nice shade of orange (red and yellow make orange!)

4. Pour the orange marshmallow mixture over the popcorn mixture and mix well.

5. Form balls about 4 inches in diameter.  (Coat your hands with a little butter if the mixture is sticking to them.) Put them on the baking sheet to cool. These can be wrapped up in Saran wrap and tied with a ribbon to give as gifts, but they’re best eaten the same day. 

 

For mommy’s little helper

 

Welcome back! As you know, Halloween is almost here! This is the first entry in my 11 days till Halloween recipe extravaganza! You can count down until this spooky day with these ghoulish treats! WARNING!!!! If you are trying to cut down on the calories,  stay away for the next 11 days, because  it’s all tricks and treats!

For mommy’s little helper–the title says it all–from making them to eating them, this simple recipe is perfect for your little helper!

Swamp Creature Toes

1/2 cup whole skinless almonds

green food coloring

2 cups chocolate chips milk or semesweet

12 8-inch pretzel rods

1. Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Coat the almonds with about 10 drops of food coloring and spread out to dry.

2. Put chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate on high for 60 seconds and stir well. Then, if it isn’t quite smooth, heat further in a few 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst.

3. Break beach pretzel into 3 pieces. Dip each piece about 3/4 of the way into the chocolate, leaving one broken end of the pretzel visible.

4. Lay the dipped pretzel on your baking sheet and place a green almond (the toe nail!) onto the dipped end. If the almond won’t stick, use a little additional melted chocolate as “glue.”

5. When all the toes are done, place the baking sheets in the fridge to set. Serve cool.

Basic Vinaigrette

Now that you know how to make a basic roast chicken, if you can make a basic salad dressing from oil and vinegar, you’ll be set.

The main thing to remember is the proportion: 2 parts of oil to 1 part of vinegar.

Use any kind of oil you like: a good olive oil if you want to be fancy or a cheaper vegetable oil if that’s all you have.

The same with the vinegar: anything you like, from good balsamic to Heinz white vinegar.

Shake it up in a jar with any seasonings you like: a dollop of dijon mustard, a minced clove of garlic, a little grated ginger . . . the sky is the limit!

That Leftover Chicken

How about a pot pie?

Just get all the meat off the bones–careful not to include any fat or gristle.

Combine it in a bowl with your favorite cooked vegetables–peas and carrots are good!

Now for the super handy shortcuts that will have dinner on the table in no time. Add a jar of prepared gravy and place in an oven-proof dish. Top with refrigerated biscuits (the kind in a tube, like Pillsbury0 and bake the whole thing in a 350 degree oven until it’s heated throughout and the biscuits are golden brown. (They’ll be a little moist, like a dumpling, on the bottom.)

It’s that easy!

My Famous Roast Chicken

 

I turned 10 last year and my mother decided I better learn to make  at least a few basic but satisfying meals so that I would always be able to feed myself, family, and friends.

It doesn’t get more basic than a nice roast chicken. Here’s how I make mine.

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

*Get a 2 to 3 pound chicken. Pick a high-quality one. Organic or kosher is good!

*Reach in and take the giblets out. (They’re usually wrapped up, but it’s still no fun. It has to be done though. You don’t want to leave them in by mistake!) Wash the chicken well and pat it dry. Pull out any little pin feathers. You might need tweezers for that.

*Cut either a lemon or orange in half and put it inside the chicken. (Squeeze it a little to make it fit and release some flavor.) If you have a few cloves of garlic and some fresh herbs (thyme is good!), put them in too.

*Rub the chicken all over with a little oil. Sprinkle on your favorite powdered seasoning. Paprika is pretty!

*Place a rack in the bottom of the roasting pan and put your chicken on that.

*Roast for about 1 1/2 hours. Keep checking. The chicken is done when it’s a beautiful golden color and the juices are clear instead of pink.

If you make a nice tossed salad with this, you have a great meal, fit even for company!

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So–tell me, what are some of your favorite seasonings to go with chicken?

What do you do with your leftover roast chicken? I like to make a pot pie, but that’s a whole other post!