Holiday Feasts

Ahhh….holidays! Families have their own traditional meals to accompany the holiday they are celebrating. Here’s some traditional recipes with a twist along with some new fresh ideas you can serve to your gang.

BBQ Rotisserie Stuffed Turkey – I’ll never, ever put a turkey in the oven again! It’s why I’m starting off showing you the final product first. The gooey crispy goodness of all that skin! If you stick with a smaller turkey about 10-12 pounds, providing your BBQ is big enough and your spit (rotisserie) can handle the weight, it’s the way to go. Stuffing Recipe – 10 to 12 slices of white stale bread cubed small and put in a big mixing bowl. To this add 1 & 1/2 tbsps of poultry seasoning, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of pepper. In a skillet brown 10 chopped fresh mushrooms, when the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms add 1 tbsp of butter and then, 1 large onion (diced), 5 stalks of tender ribs of celery (diced), when the veggies are all browned add them to the bowl of bread cubes and mix together. In a measuring cup mix together 1 tbsp of chicken soup base (or 1 cup of chicken broth) with 2 tbsp of melted butter and crack one egg into the measuring cup and whisk together. Add this to your bowl of bread cubes and veggies, mix together well and it’s ready to go into the bird. In order to have gravy you must put a pan (I use a throw away casserole tray) to place under the bird while it’s on the rotisserie to catch the drippings. Then you can make gravy as usual.

I prepare my turkey by giving it a good rinse in cold water or brine bath (see next photo) removing all the special gifts that come with it like the neck, liver and so on (I don’t have a use for these anymore so I just discard them) then pat it dry. Stuff the bird till it’s full on both ends to get maximum turkey stuffing (YUM) I sew one end with metal skewers and then just place tinfoil over the other end. Using your kitchen string tie the bird as best you can to hold the winds and legs in place, this sometimes takes 2 people but I’ve got it down pat! In a bowl combine a few of your favorite chicken spices like garlic salt, Paprika, onion powder, oregano and freely rub away until it’s covered. Then place it on the spit and BBQ on the Rotisserie setting – and get this…it will self baste and be completely cooked (stuffing too!) in 3 to 3.5 hours! The juices will run clear and the legs will be wanting to detach themselves from the body. Make sure you have enough propane! Mine’s hooked up to gas – what a luxury 🙂

How to Brine your whole Chicken or Turkey

You need a very large pot for more than 1 chicken or a turkey. Pour 5 cups of water into the pot and put it on the stove to boil. Add 2 tbsp of whole black peppercorns, 10 bay leaves, 1 tbsp of oregano, sprigs of fresh Rosemary 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of salt. When it comes to a boil remove from heat and add 10-12 ice cubes to bring it to room temperature and then fill it will very cold water to bring the level of the water about half full. Dunk your raw whole (cleaned) chickens or turkey into the pot and store it overnight in the fridge. I’m lucky enough to have 2 fridges so I have room enough to do this. I’ve heard of friends placing the pot in a cooler and a bag of ice on each side and leaving it overnight. This is something you’ll want to try at least once to see the difference it makes with how tender, juicy and tasty your meat becomes.

As you can see in the photo I have put chunks of butter under the skin before I put the rub on the outside. That way they will butter baste all on their own! 3 chickens like this (not stuffed) will only take 2 – 2.5 hours on the BBQ. When were having a big summer feast with a crowd of people over we’ll just serve them all on a platter and let people cut and choose the pieces they want.

A Summer Feast of Rotisserie Chicken.

Cranberry Walnut Side Salads – Mesculin Mix topped with cucumber, shaved red onion, Feta cheese, dried Cranberries & toasted Walnuts. A festive combination, and a great way to serve side salads. I serve a homemade dressing on the side so people can put their desired amount on. Dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of raspberry jam, 1 tbsp of red pepper jelly, 1 tsp of ground dried rosemary, 1 tsp of salt. Great accompaniment to Chicken or Turkey, being sweet with Cranberries and zesty with Rosemary.

Roasted Candied Yams – Goes great with Turkey Dinner. 3 lbs of Yams peeled and sliced in about 1/4″ thick. 3/4 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of apricot brandy (or similar), 1 tsp of onion powder, several cinnamon sticks, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, sprigs of thyme and 1 orange sliced. Method: In a baking dish place Yams layered on one another as shown above (slightly overlapping). In a saucepan melt the butter on low heat, stir in the brown sugar, apricot brandy, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, onion powder, thyme and salt. Cook until sugar is dissolved and then add orange slices. Pour the mixture over the Yams covering the entire surface. Arrange the top as shown in the picture above. Cover the dish tightly with foil, bake in a 350 oven until the yams are tender when pierced with a fork, then uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes until the top browns. (as shown in the pic below)

Sticky Sweet Goodness!

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin – This is as close to “FOOD PORN” as it gets. Goat Cheese & Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Basil and then Wrapped in Bacon & BBQ’d. Wow…it’s what you’ll say when you take your first bite! I make 2 to 3 of them depending on how many guests usually 1 tenderloin will feed 3 people – but be warned, they will eat a lot more than usual when they taste this. Just follow the steps on the pictures below…

Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper. Cut in half a few dozen Roma tomatoes (or as many that will fit on your tray) slice a bit of the top of a whole bud of garlic clove off and rub it with olive oil – add it to the corner of your tray for roasting as well. Brush the tomatoes generously with Olive oil, sprinkle the tomatoes with 1 tsp basil,  1tsp salt, 1 tbsp of sugar. Put them in the oven to bake for 2 hours on 300 degrees. The garlic may be done sooner, but the tomatoes should stay in until the juices on top evaporate, and your left with nice gooey looking tomatoes as shown above.

Place them in a bowl and pinch the gooey garlic out of their skins in with the tomato’s. Drizzle some olive oil on top and mash them together. I use a knife and fork to cut down the tomato’s a bit.

Butterfly the pork tenderloin and pound it evenly without making any holes. Season your meat lightly with salt & pepper, then layer your ingredients on as follows; a generous slab of gooey roasted tomato’s with garlic, then fresh basil leaves to cover that and then a half cup of goat cheese. Roll tightly and compact.

Then wrap with raw bacon strips you’ll need 4-5 slices per tenderloin, and if you wrap it perfectly you won’t need string to hold it together. Rub some Montreal Steak Spice on the outside and then cook it on the BBQ Med-Low heat.

Use toothpicks to hold the bacon in place if it’s not working for you. So about a half hour on the grill turning it so the bacon shrinks evenly around the tenderloin. If the cheese starts oozing out it’s a good sign it’s done. Allow it to sit under tinfoil for about 8 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Tourtiere a la Viande – (French pork meat pie) – A great French classic in our family at holiday gatherings. They freeze beautifully so make lots all at once! I like to make small personal ones to have with a salad on those nights I feel like a home cooked meal but don’t want to cook one! Here’s 2 different pictures to show you how we decorate them each year.Using an egg was to seal between the pastry and to brush over the top to make a beautiful crackle brown finish. Use the pastry recipe from desserts.

Pork Filling for Tourtiere a la Viande – 2 to 3 lbs of minced ground pork, 1 cup water, 1 & 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp of pepper, 2 tsp of salt, 1 finely chopped onion, 3 cups of soft bread crumbs. Method: Fry the pork in a skillet until lightly browned, drain off any grease, add water, salt & pepper, nutmeg & bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add bread crumbs and let cool. I have recently altered this original family recipe and added a can of mushroom soup at this step. It adds flavor and moisture. Fill the pie shells, not heaping, just as shown in the pictures. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes – until crust is golden, as the inside is pre-cooked.

(Meat Pies ready for the freezer)

Perogies – It’s a traditional Easter dinner for us, paired up with a baked ham. And soon I’ll show you step by step how to make these from scratch for your holiday. It’s great to make batches ahead of the holidays and tuck them away in the freezer. We cook them in fried bacon & onions and then smother them in Cheddar cheese – and top with Sour Cream!

Baked Ham – and with the ham you roast pineapples and make pineapple ham honey mustard. After you roasted your ham finely dice 3 pineapple rings and put them in a small pot on the stove, add 1/2 cup mustard and 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tbsp of maple syrup and 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves & cinnamon. Simmer until well blended, serve as  a hot dip for the ham.

Our typical Ham, Perogy, Asparagus, Coleslaw & Egg Spring Equinox Dinner, celebrating Ostara & Easter.

This was the kids favorite at Halloween the Ham & Perogy dinner with the added scary stuffed pepper Jack-o-lantern!

I just used the turkey stuffing from up above, as it  was the kids favorite. But a better recipe if your mixing it up with a bunch of adults is this Mexican Recipe….
6 bell peppers, cored, seeded
3 cups of cooked rice
2 lbs of ground beef
1 pkg of dried onion soup mix
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 10 oz. can black beans, drained
1 10 oz can corn, drained
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper & salt
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 cup Mexican melting cheese or pepper jack, shredded

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stuff the filling into the peppers and place them into a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Great easy dinner. I find if I have more people, I will cut the peppers in half and stuff 12 half shells with this recipe and top with additional cheese. Serve with a salad.


One Response to Holiday Feasts

  1. sterling green says:

    thanks going to brine my turkey for the first time this your web site..

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