Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Best Turkey {Breast} I've Ever Eaten

As much as I love to use hyperbole, I steer clear of the term "best" as often as possible. However, this roast turkey breast is by far the BEST I have ever cooked or eaten. It is so simple and amazing I might be tempted to have unofficial Thanksgiving meals throughout the rest of the year featuring just the turkey breast.

The trick with cooking white meat is to get it done without drying it out, and this technique does it beautifully while still crisping the skin and infusing it with flavor. I found the original recipe over at Foodie Crush and just put my own little twist on it, since I can never leave well enough alone - thankfully the results were delicious!

This is a fantastic recipe to use if you're having a small Thanksgiving and would rather just cook the turkey breast than roast the entire bird, or if (like me) you just occasionally like to have a roast turkey on a day that isn't in late November.

Juicy Roast Turkey Breast

1 bone-in turkey breast (this recipe is for a 6 lb. breast)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter (softened)
2 tbsp. bouquet garni
1 lemon
1 head of garlic, crushed with paper still on.
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sherry
12 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse and pat the turkey breast dry, then use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the turkey meat. Place it on a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the butter with the bouquet garni and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Use your fingers to gently smear the butter under the skin of the turkey breast and then evenly spread the rest of it on top. Insert 8-10 sprigs of thyme under the skin as well and finish by sprinkling the bird with a final pinch of salt and pepper.

Pour the wine over the turkey, then halve the lemon and squeeze the juice over the bird, then add the halves to the pan along with the garlic. Top the turkey with the rest of the thyme sprigs.

Roast the turkey until done (140 degrees), I usually estimate about 20 minutes per pound.

Serve it up with a side of Simple & Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Carrots and Lemony Garlic Brussels Sprouts for a fantastic meal!

Printable Juicy Roast Turkey Breast Recipe

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Autumn Twist on A Classic: Lasagna

Its a good thing I love butternut squash, because this time of year it is everywhere! I do get a little bored with just the typical soups, stews and roasted veggie medley options though, so I just had to give this fantastic recipe for Autumn Lasagna a try.

It incorporates the squash into the cream sauce, which is genius because instead of just getting chunks of squash throughout, you get the flavor combined with a decadent creamy texture. The ground turkey and sage just complete the whole autumn flavor palate for me. If I had to pick an herb that represented this season, sage would be it by a huge margin, no other herb even comes close.

I stumbled upon the original version of this recipe on The Cozy Apron and stuck pretty closely to the original, only tweaking some seasonings and amounts here and there. This is why I love Pinterest for recipe sharing, not only do I find amazing recipes and inspiration for my own dishes, but I find other bloggers who share my love of food. Definitely swing by The Cozy Apron and check out the recipes, there are several others I can't wait to try!

What is your favorite veggie of the fall, are you as addicted to butternut squash as I am?

Creamy Autumn Lasagna

Ingredients For The Sauce (can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed)
3 heads of garlic, tops cut off
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. of kosher salt (divided)
3 lbs. cubed butternut squash
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 cup chicken (or veggie) broth (warmed)
2 cups half and half (warmed)
4 oz. cream cheese (or mascarpone - I just happened to have cream cheese on hand)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients For The Lasagna
Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. fresh sage leaved (chopped)
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 heaping cups of raw baby spinach leaves
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Make the sauce: Preheat oven to 400 degrees, drizzle olive oil over the heads of garlic, sprinkle with salt, then wrap each head tightly in foil, placing them directly on the oven rack. Once they've been roasting for about 10 minutes, toss the squash together with olive oil, salt & pepper and spread into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast alongside the garlic for 35-40 minutes until tender.

Remove the garlic and squash from the oven, allowing them to cool slightly. Squeeze the cloves of garlic out into a small bowl and mash with a fork, set aside. Add the squash to a large dutch-oven style pot and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (you could also use a food processor if you don't have an immersion blender). Add the roasted garlic to the squash and continue to puree until completely blended.

Put the pot over low heat and add in the broth and half and half, whisk to incorporate, then add in the cream cheese, parmesan, basil, sage, oregano, pepper and salt to taste. Continue to heat slowly and whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Either set aside to use the sauce immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly mist a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Once the turkey is no longer pink, remove from heat and set aside.

Add about 1 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, then layer lasagna noodles on top, add another cup or so of the sauce then add the ground turkey. Top the turkey with 1 cup of the baby spinach leaves and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add about 3/4 cup of the mozzarella and repeat the layering process until you are done with ingredients, finishing with a final layer of noodles and sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top, then sprinkle on the panko breadcrumbs and mist lightly with nonstick spray.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until all the cheese has melted and the top is lightly golden. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Printable Recipe

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Pie Day Part 1

Friday Pie Day is back! I decided to kick off my re-instatement of the wondrous "holiday" with my classic apple pie. It's perfect apple season around here and my favorite local farm market has some truly delicious varieties this year. I took advantage of a playdate there this past week and picked up some winesap apples, which are my favorite kind to use for apple butter and I couldn't resist some honeycrisp ones either, with plans to bake most of them into the pie you see below.

I love a good apple pie and it is so simple to create, honestly the hardest part is finding a great pastry crust recipe and peeling the apples. The crust I use is fantastic and uses a blend of shortening and butter to create a tender and flaky pastry. If you prefer to use all butter instead, this recipe is another one I use that is also delicious.

I think my next Friday Pie Day will include a recipe for sweet potato pie, any tips?

Classic Apple Pie
Ingredients for Crust
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
3 cups AP flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
6-8 tbsp. ice cold water

Ingredients for Filling
8 large apples
½ cup granulated sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of your apples)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. raw sugar

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator to completely chill while assembling the rest of the crust. Add the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a food processor, pulse a few times to mix. Add in the butter and shortening, pulse a few times until the butter is worked in and the size of peas. With the food processor running, slowly add in ice water until the dough begins to form a ball.

Remove the dough and place on a floured surface, rolling into a large ball. Divide in half and press each into a disc. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel and slice the apples thin, about a ¼ inch thick, and place in a large bowl. Toss together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg, then add it to the apples. Stir well to coat and set aside.

Roll out the pastry on well-floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9” pie plate and trim to leave about a ¾ inch overhang. Add the apple filling into the crust and dot with the softened butter.

Wisk together the egg yolk and 2 tbsp. of water, then brush it on the overhang of the bottom crust before topping with the second crust. Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers to seal, brush the entire top crust and edges with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a few slits in the top to vent the steam.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes with the oven at 425, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 60 minutes. Let cook at least 20-30 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Crust recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

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