Beverages

Recipe—Apple Cider Sangria

Recipe—Apple Cider Sangria

Tis the season for apples and cinnamon! If you are having a hard time transitioning into the fall season and all that goes with it, then make yourself a big batch of this apple cider sangria, get out your pumpkin pie candle, and slip on a cozy flannel.

I made a double batch of this recipe for Thanksgiving last year and it was gone before I knew it. It went down just a little too easy. If you could take all that is fall and contain it in a drink, this would be it. It is literally the perfect drink for all your fall festivities, or even just a lazy fall Sunday.

Note: This recipe is best when made right before serving as the champagne and club soda can lose their fizz and the apples can brown.

INGREDIENTS
750 ml bottle champagne
2 1/2 c apple cider
1 c club soda
1/2 c Disaronno or Frangelico
2 apples, sliced
cinnamon sticks

STEPS

  • In a large pitcher or serving container, combine the champagne, apple cider, club soda, and Disaronno or Frangelico.
  • Add in the apples and cinnamon sticks.
  • Stir and serve over ice.
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Dinners

Recipe—The Perfect Turkey

To brine or not to brine? That is the ongoing question I have people ask me about cooking a turkey. Well here is your answer, I am a briner. I have prepared turkeys both brined and not. While I am no professional chef I would consider my self very versed in eating. I personally think brined turkeys come out with more flavor and are more moist than that of a turkey that is not brined. Some of you may be asking, “what the heck is brining?”

Brining is the process of soaking your turkey in a salt (and sometimes herb) infused bath for several hours prior to cooking. I find that your bird will be more evenly flavored and it will also be the moistest bird you ever have.

I make an awesome citrus herb rub (see recipe below) for my turkey. It is flavor packed and will make all your dinner guests ohhhh and ahhhh. The orange zest is not overpowering at all. It actually is a really nice complement to all the other flavors of a thanksgiving dinner. Trust me. I know how to make a delicious turkey.

Notes: Do not brine your turkey if it is self basting, pre seasoned, or kosher. If you do not have a pan that is large enough you may use an oversized bowl, ice chest, or even a baking bag tied off. The key is that the bird is completely submerged.

BRINING INGREDIENTS
1 c kosher salt
2 c sugar
1 c apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sage
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp pepper
thawed turkey

STEPS FOR BRINING

  • Find a large pot that will hold your turkey making sure you have at least an inch or two of room at the top.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in your pot.
  • Add the salt and sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Remove the pan from heat and add in 8 cups of cold water, apple cider vinegar, sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.
  • Place the pot in your sink (this will help in case any liquid overflows).
  • Remove all of the giblets and neck from your turkey and gently lower it into the pot.
  • Cover the pot with a lid or saran wrap.
  • Place the pot in the fridge and marinade for 12–16 hours.
  • Rinse the turkey and pat dry.

TURKEY INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 c Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 oranges, zested and quartered
1 c butter, softened
1 brined turkey

STEPS FOR TURKEY

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • In a small bowl combine the garlic, parsley, kosher salt, pepper, chili powder, orange zest, and butter and mix until well combined.
  • Starting from the neck of the turkey, carefully separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers.
  • Push about half of the herbed butter mixture under the skin and spread it out evenly. (Don’t be afraid really get it all over in there! The butter will melt and all those yummy flavors will just seep into the meat.)
  • Use the other half of the mixture to evenly cover the top and sides of the turkey.
  • Place the orange quarters inside the turkey’s cavity.
  • Place the seasoned turkey in a roasting pan and loosely cover with foil.
  • Roast the turkey for 20–23 minutes per pound and baste every 45 minutes. (Note: If you are running out of juices in the pan just add some chicken broth or cubes of butter.)
  • Remove the foil for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
  • When the temperature in the meatiest part of the turkey reaches 165º remove it from oven and allow it to rest for 25–30 minutes.
  • Carve and gobble up.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

 

 

Side Dishes

Recipe—Baked Sweet Potatoes

I know many people think that sweet potatoes are a fall dish but why should we limit ourselves to only eating the sweet root vegetable during the cooler months? I am still getting sweet potatoes almost every other week in my produce box and have had fun getting creative with them. The other day at the grocery store I saw some turkey breast tenderloins on sale and I decided to cook a mock Thanksgiving dinner. A Thanksgiving feast once a year is not nearly enough! These potatoes are sweet, tangy, and even had a little hint of spice. They will really get your taste buds going. I’m so glad I made these because they were the perfect side dish for our citrus grilled turkey tenderloins.

Note: I used Hannah sweet potatoes but this recipe works with any type of sweet potato. That is why these are lighter in color than the typical orange sweet potato you may be used to seeing.

INGREDIENTS
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced into 3/4” medallions
1/2 c fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c dried cranberries
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add the orange juice, zest, syrup, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and cranberries. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Transfer the sweet potatoes along with all the juices to a baking dish.
  • Slice the butter and place the pats over the top of the sweet potatoes.
  • Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes lift the foil and using a baster or a large spoon, pour some of the liquid from the baking dish over the top of the potatoes.
  • Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Remove the foil and turn on the broiler for 3 minutes to caramelize the top.
Dinners, Side Dishes

Recipe—Baked Acorn Squash

I have a confession to make, I know this will make me sound like a total blonde but I want to be sure you all know I’m human and that I don’t know everything about cooking. I am still learning every day. So here I go… until I got my first acorn squash in my organic produce box a few weeks back I thought they were a decorative item. Seriously. Okay, go ahead and laugh now.  I remember seeing them in the grocery stores with all the gourds and pumpkins every fall but I was oblivious to the fact that people actually ate them. I am so glad I discovered that these were in fact edible because they are delicious and I now love cooking with them. I am sharing a recipe for a classic oven baked acorn squash. This is a really sweet treat and a fun way to enjoy the veggie. These squash remind me of my favorite Thanksgiving side dish, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans. Yum! Depending on how many people I have over for turkey day this year I may just even make these instead. Why not mix it up and break out of tradition?

INGREDIENTS
1 acorn squash
1 tbsp butter, softened
salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp maple syrup

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Carefully cut acorn squash in half and using a spoon clean out the seeds and stringy pulp.
  • Coat the inside of each squash half with the softened butter and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar to the cavity of each half.
  • Drizzle a teaspoon of maple sugar over each half.
  • Put a 1/4” of water in a baking dish (This keeps the squash from drying out.)
  • Place the prepared acorn squash in the water cut side up.
  • Bake squash for 1 hour or until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Sauces

Recipe—Cranberry Orange Sauce

What’s Thanksgiving without the cranberry sauce? Out of all the traditional holiday sides, cranberry sauce is by far one of my favorites. It is a must have! This recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. The inclusion of orange and lime sets off the tangy flavor of the cranberries really well. Not only is this fantastic with turkey, but it is also great with cream cheese on a toasted bagel. After you try this you will say sayonara to that canned stuff!

Note: I recommend making this recipe at least 6 hours before serving. I typically do it the day before. It allows the sauce to thicken and set. If you would like to preserve this, spoon into sterilized jars, cover tightly, and refrigerate. This will last up to one month.

INGREDIENTS
2 c sugar
1 orange, juice and zest of
1 lime, juice and zest of
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c red wine
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c fresh cranberries
1/4 c Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

STEPS

  • Combine sugar, zests, juices, vinegar, wine, dried cranberries, and the cinnamon stick in a pot.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
  • Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
  • Fold in fresh cranberries and orange liqueur.
  • Simmer and stir occasionally until most of the cranberries break open (approximately 15 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and allow sauce to cool.
  • Dispose the cinnamon stick and transfer to your serving dish.
  • Place in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Happy Thanksgiving!