In the last few weeks since Black Friday, there have been crazy deals on everything from toasters to turkeys. One ad that we saw had Standing Rib Roasts for $4.99 a pound. Not too shabby. So, this year Dana and I thought that we would change things up a bit and cook a Standing Rib Roast for our holiday meal. It was the best decision that we made. It was freaking awesome! Who doesn’t love a huge hunk of meat covered in a fresh herb rub and roasted to perfection!
Well it is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I want to give my annual quick tips. Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for any cook. Accepting or asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It can the one thing that keeps you sane during this sometimes stressful holiday. Below I have listed a few tips and shortcuts that can help ease your stress and make your thanksgiving a tad bit more joyous. Be as prepared as possible. I have created a sample menu and timing that you can use to make Thanksgiving as easy as possible. Also, there are plenty of tips from what turkey to choose all the way to how to cook a frozen turkey. Its all in there.
This is a simple, quick and delicious dish. Pork tenderloin is a tender cut of meat that cooks fast. In about 40 minutes you can be chewing down on a delicious pork tenderloin with roasted apples. Yes, you can do this no problem.
My family loves potatoes and sometimes we get into a rut of having either baked potatoes or mashed. Sometimes it is nice to change it up a bit. So I found a simple and easy way to make perfectly roasted red potatoes. The bonus, it requires very few ingredients and even less time. Hope you enjoy!
Oven Roasted Red Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash the red potatoes.
Quarter the potatoes.
Place on a large cookie sheet and coat with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.
Place into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Open the oven and stir the potatoes. Continue to cook for 20 minutes.
At this point they might be done. It all depends on the size of your potatoes. If you have extra large potatoes it may take an extra 10 minutes. You can easily check doneness with a fork.
Place the potatoes into a serving bowl and enjoy!
- 2 pounds red potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the red potatoes.
- Quarter the potatoes.
- Place on a large cookie sheet and coat with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.
- Place into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Open the oven and stir the potatoes. Continue to cook for 20 minutes.
- At this point they might be done. It all depends on the size of your potatoes. If you have extra large potatoes it may take an extra 10 minutes. You can easily check doneness with a fork.
- Place the potatoes into a serving bowl and enjoy!
This dish is simple and easy. It is a great side for any grilled foods.
I love baked sweet potatoes, but they take so long to make. Plus, you have to heat up your oven and thereby heat up your house. Not what you are looking for when it is hot outside. So I started to roast the sweet potatoes in coals of the grill. You need a charcoal grill for this method, but it is worth it. The high heat sears the outside and makes the sweet potatoes come out super sweet and tender in around 45 minutes.
Dana has been wanting to make some of her childhood recipes, so I told her to go for it. So here is Dana with another great recipe.
The other day I was wracking my brain over what to cook for dinner that would please our almost two year old. I started to think back on some of the dishes my mom used to cook for us and recalled one of my favorites! This is very easy to prepare (takes about 15mins max) and tastes delicious! Our son loved the meal and that’s how you know it’s a winner!
Slow Roasted Chicken Legs With Vegetable Medley
Preheat the oven to 325.
Julienne the carrots.
Julienne the Potatoes.
Dice the onion.
I used a roaster pan to cook this dish. Coat the bottom of the pan with margarine. Place the chicken legs in the pan, and as you do, roll them around in the margarine so that they have a nice coating. I like to be generous with the margarine.
Add the vegetables to the roaster pan.
Cook for 2.5-3 hrs at 325 or until the skin of the legs crisps up.
Nice, crispy and delicious!
- 10-16 Chicken legs (I bought a value pack of 14 drumsticks)
- ½ cup Margarine
- 5 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 4-5 russet potatoes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- I used a roaster pan to cook this dish. Coat the bottom of the pan with margarine. Place the chicken legs in the pan, and as you do, roll them around in the margarine so that they have a nice coating. I am generous with the margarine.
- Julienne the carrots and potatoes. Dice the onion.
- Add the vegetables to the roaster pan.
- Cook for 3 hrs at 325 or until the skin of the legs crisps up.
- This is an easy family meal, pleasing for all tastes. You can also include different vegetables. Next time, I'm going to add cauliflower! Enjoy !
This is an easy family meal, pleasing for all tastes. You can also include different vegetables. Next time, I’m going to add cauliflower! Enjoy !
Well it is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I want to give my annual quick tips. Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for any cook. Accepting or asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It can the one thing that keeps you sane during this sometimes stressful holiday. Below I have listed a few tips and shortcuts that can help ease your stress and make your thanksgiving a tad bit more joyous. There are plenty of tips from what turkey to choose all the way to how to cook a frozen turkey. Its all in there.
Choose your turkey wisely…
Choose a turkey based on the number of guests. Average is about 1lb per person. Sounds like a lot, but remember a turkey contains bones and fat. It will roughly give you about 6-8oz serving per person. When the number of guests reaches over 12, I would rather cook two smaller birds than a giant 20lb bird. The smaller birds cook quicker, more evenly and some would say (AKA me) taste better.
Check your local supermarket and sign up for a rewards card. They always offer a bird for less than $0.75 a pound. I paid $0.39 a pound at food lion. This can sometimes mean that you can get a 10 lb bird for less than a 4 lb turkey breast. Thanksgiving leftovers are awesome so this might be something to think about.
Make sure your bird will fit into your oven and/or roasting pan. Sometimes large birds look good in the store, but when you get home it won’t fit into the fridge, oven and/or roasting pan. Go to the store with a plan.
Thaw the Bird
Allow the turkey to thaw for 3-4 hours per pound. So if you have a 16lb turkey give yourself about 48 – 64 hours to let it thaw. That means that it should be in the fridge as you read this.
If you are reading this on the Wednesday before or even on Thanksgiving, I have a solution for you.
How to Cook a Frozen Turkey
You can easily cook your turkey from frozen. The step by step instructions are here. This is a super easy method and the bird comes out great. You can’t infuse it with crazy flavors, but if you like roasted turkey this is the way to go.
Brine the Turkey
If you do have time, you might want to think about brining your turkey. Even though Thanksgiving is only two days away you have plenty of time to brine the bird. Check out my post on how to brine a turkey for instructions. If you find yourself with a frozen bird. Add it to a brine and thaw it in the fridge to do double duty and increase the speed of thaw.
Double Check the Temperature
Use a probe thermometer. Sounds fancy but it takes the guess work out of cooking. Want to know how people get perfectly juicy birds, it is based on temperature not time. Place the probe into the breast meat, making sure not to touch the bone. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove the bird from the oven, tent in aluminum foil and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
If you do not have a probe thermometer, cook the bird for 14 minutes a pound and then check the temperature in the breast with a meat thermometer. They are available at almost all supermarkets. If it is under 160, cook for another 10 minutes and check again. Repeat until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Don’t use the pop-up thermometer.
Pop-up thermometers are set to spring at 175 degrees. At that temperature the breast is already too dry. Plus remember that once it pops you need to let the bird rest. Yep, that turkey is gonna be 180+ degrees by the time it is served. Definitely not good.
The approximate time till eating is roughly 19 minutes a pound. Includes resting time.
Stuffing is for the birds, maybe not
I don’t recommend that you stuff the bird with stuffing. The internal temperature of the bird will not reach a temperature that is hot enough to kill the bacteria that will be absorbed by the stuffing. The only cure for this is to make the stuffing separately (AKA dressing). If you wish, you can cook the bird and the stuffing separately and then assemble them together before serving. That way you get the nice Norman Rockwell presentation.
Keys for seasoning a turkey…
Rub a mixture of olive oil and herbs under the skin and over it. You have to season the bird under the skin for the best results. See the herb paste that I made for my boneless turkey breast.
Using an injector you can pierce the outer layer and season the turkey from within. Coolness factor – by using a herb oil you can add ribbons of green throughout the turkey. This makes for an eye catching bird when you carve it.
Layer on the pork. Adding a bacon layer over the breast allows for added flavor and further prevents the breast from drying out.
Stuff the inside with aromatics. Halve an onion, some lemons and fresh herbs. Unlike stuffing these won’t be eaten and will add a tremendous amount of flavor to the finished bird.
Cooking the Turkey…
Place the seasoned turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack, make one out of carrots and celery. Make sure the turkey is not sitting on the bottom of the pan. Add a 1/2 cup of water or your favorite white wine to the bottom of the pan.
Start the turkey in a preheated 325 degree oven. Cook until the internal temperature is about 140-145 degrees.
Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the breast is 160 degrees.
Take the turkey out of the oven and wrap in foil. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. During this time the turkey will continue to cook and bring the temperature of the breast to 165 degrees.
Use the giblets. They package them with the turkeys for a reason. While you are cooking the turkey, simmer the giblets. Place them in a pot and cover them with chicken stock. Add an onion, a couple stalks of celery and a couple carrots. Season with a little salt, pepper, 1 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp thyme, and a bay leaf. Simmer for 2-3 hours. Strain out the solids and you have a perfect stock for making gravy.
Make a roux. Basically the start of gravy is to make a roux. Take 2 tbs butter and 2 tbs flour. Add them to a sauce pan and stir until brown in color. This will take the flour taste out of the flour and give you a rich nutty flavor as the base of your gravy. The key to a roux gravy is to use 2 tbs fat (butter) with 2 tbs flour along with 1 cup of stock.
You can use a slurry of water or chicken stock, and flour to thicken your gravy, but make sure to simmer it for at least 30 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. The slurry is a 1 to 1 mixture. 1 part liquid, 1 part flour.
Don’t for get to add a splash of that starchy potato water.
Deglaze the roasting pan with 1/4 cup of your favorite wine. Reduce and use that along with the giblet stock to make an amazing gravy.
After adding your roux, giblet stock, roasting pan drippings and a dash of starchy potato water, make sure to simmer for at least 15 minutes to allow the gravy to thicken.
Cooking is fun, don’t let a turkey stress you out.
The turkey and the gravy can use a bit of wine, so can you. When I cook it is a 3-1 ratio. Three glasses for me and one for cooking. For the long cooks this can get a little dicey. Make sure to have a backup cook on hand if you use this ratio.
A meat thermometer is the only way to cook a turkey. No checking charts or guessing based on a pop-up thermometer.
Make as many of the sides and desserts the day before. If you don’t have too much to do, you can relax with your guests and have a good time watching the Lions lose once again.
If you have any questions click the Ask Rex link in the top menu. I will be available all week, even on Thanksgiving.
Other Options for Cooking
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Sometimes a little visit to the store will inspire you. In this case it was a brief encounter with a roaster chicken at the local Food Lion. I was strolling through the aisles looking for some inspiration when I saw it. A $2 chicken. It immediately hit me. Time to make a roasted chicken! Dana loves Thanksgiving, so I used it as an excuse to make Thanksgiving in August. It was perfect.
Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1 Whole Roasting Chicken
- 3 tbs butter, room temperature
- 1 tbs fresh thyme
- 1 tbs fresh sage
- 1/2 tbs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 2 stalks celery, quartered
- 1 medium onion, quartered
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
This recipe started with a super cheap bird. You can find deals on whole chickens at most supermarkets. You get a lot of meat for not a lot of money. This whole bird was $2.12. Not bad for a nice meal for four.
Unwrap the bird, remove the gizzards from the cavity, rinse with cold water and pat completely dry.
Then using your hands, rub the room temperature butter all over the skin of the bird. Then season with half of the dry herbs and all of the poultry seasoning.
Cut the veggies and place the carrots, celery, remaining fresh herbs, half of the garlic and half of the onion in a roasting pan. Cover with the olive oil and toss so that all of the veggies are coated. Then stuff the remaining onion and garlic into the cavity of the bird. Place the bird on top of the veggies. Use them as a rack to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan.
Place the bird on the center rack of the preheated 425 degree oven.
Bake for an hour and a half, or until the breast reaches 180 degrees.
Once the chicken reaches temperature, remove it from the oven. Using a spatula or tongs, place the bird on a platter.
Tent the bird with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
After the bird has rested, carve it up and serve.
The skin on this bird was fabulous. Dana and I had enough for each of us to have left overs. You can not beat a nice $2 chicken.
I love potatoes. The fabulous tubers are always on my mind when it comes to side dishes. I was looking through my portfolio of recipes and realized that I have never roasted potatoes. That has to change. So I diced up some potatoes, chopped up some herbs, minced some garlic and made some of the tastiest potatoes around. No joke, they were awesome!
Herb Roasted Potatoes
- 5 Russet baking potatoes, medium/large
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbs fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbs kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash the potatoes and then dice them into 1 inch cubes. Try to keep them all around the same size. They will cook more evenly that way.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Then add the herbs and toss.
Pour the potatoes out onto a large cookie sheet. Spread them out into a single layer.
Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir, spread the potatoes back out into a single layer and then continue to cook for another 20 minutes.
Stir and place the potatoes into a serving bowl.
Serve with your favorite meal.
These potatoes were crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. The herbs were delicious. As always the garlic amount is a suggestion, you can always add more if you want to scare away some vampires.
I love cauliflower! So this recipe is right up my alley. Roasted cauliflower with the dark crispy edges. Low in fat and if you use low-sodium soy sauce, low in sodium too. Amazing! It is the perfect side dish for any meal. I paired it with a few NY Strip steaks and some baked potatoes.
Roasted Cauliflower – (From Good Housekeeping)
- 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Trim the cauliflower and break it up into 1/2 inch to 1 inch florets. Roughly chop the onion. Crush or grate the garlic. The smaller the better for the garlic.
In a large bowl toss the cauliflower, garlic, onion, soy sauce and olive oil together.
Spread the mixture out onto a large sheet pan.
Roast the cauliflower for 35 minutes or until tender and the edges are browned. Make sure to stir a couple of times during the roasting process.
Remove from the oven. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with your favorite meal.
This recipe is so simple, but so delicious. Simple is better when it comes to vegetables.
Are you looking for a super quick and easy recipe for Valentine’s Day? This one takes under an hour and tastes like it took ten. It will perfume your house with the magical scents of garlic and rosemary. The perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day.