Tag Archives: Turkey

10 TastyTips to a Tantalizing, Tasty (and less stressful) Holiday Meal

Ten Top Tasty Tips to create an awesome Turkey/Holiday Meal

  1. Plan Ahead.  If you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time – do so,  then keep them in the crock pot to stay hot until serving. Keep some potato water for the gravy thou! (Gramma G – that’s for you).
  2. Try adding a veggie casserole to the menu, so you just have to heat and serve rather than cook them up ahead of time. (see recipe for Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole below).
  3. Be Aware.  Check if any guests have allergies or food intolerances.  If you have guests coming that are gluten intolerant then either use Gluten Free bread for stuffing, cook the stuffing(dressing) outside of the bird or use a rice or quinoa based stuffing.
  4. Serving crackers? Include some rice crackers (in a separate dish) for those that are Gluten Free.
  5. Tetra packs of chicken broth (sometimes used in addition to drippings for gravy) usually contain gluten and MSG, however there are some new ones available (in Canada anyway) that are gluten and MSG and preservative free. (I believe one is called Cooks Choice or Kitchen Basics).
  6. turkeyYou don’t need to baste a turkey unless you see it getting dry! I use butter, minced garlic and kosher or sea salt rubbed into skin and roast. Add a bit of water in the bottom of the pan. I don’t cover it at all.   Gorgeous bird.
  7. Remember that birds that are over 10 LB, will cook from the inside out as well.  So you need to adjust cooking time for that (see below).
  8. I have personally found that roasting birds at high heat (400 degrees) guarantees a moist bird, (count stuffing as 1 additional LB if stuffing the actual bird).  Calculate as follows:  15 min per LB up to first 10 LB, after that reduce cooking time to 7 min per LB (see #7).  Plus an additional 15 min.
  • Therefore for a 10 LB Bird = 15(min) *10(LB)=150 Min + 15=165 minutes (2 hr 45 min)
  • An 18 LB bird however is (15*10) + (8 *7min) + additional 15 min = 221 min. (3 hr 40 minutes).

Let the bird rest for 15-20 minutes after removing from oven to absorb juices…..

  1. Need a second meat? Try Maple Syrup Salmon! So easy – when you pull the bird out of the oven, drizzle salmon with maple syrup (buy local!!), and bake with turkey sits for 20 minutes.  Very yummy and how easy is that!!

Broccoli – Cauliflower Casserole

This is a fave with little and big kids alike! Also a great make ahead dish for holiday meals and potlucks.

Time saver tip – If you don’t want to make the white sauce from scratch – substitute in a can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup instead.

  • 1/2-1 head broccoli crowns – washed and trimmed to small bite sized pieces & cooked under tender
  • 1/2 – 1 head cauliflower – washed and trimmed to small-sized pieces & cooked until tender
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (your fave – we like old cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

White Sauce (or substitute a can of condensed cream of mushroom, cheese or celery soup)

  • In a saucepan over med heat add:
  • about a 1/4 cup butter & melt
  • slowly add in about 1/4 c flour and stir
  • slowly pour in about 1 cup of milk stirring constantly
  • add: salt, pepper and mustard powder to taste. Cook, stirring until thickened (about 5 minutes.

Cook veggies. Saute onion until soft, with broccoli & cauliflower. While onion is sauteing, make  white sauce.  Drain veggies, put in bowl add spices, white sauce (or soup) and cheese to drained veggies & onions. Stir until combined.  Place in lasagna pan and (if you are making ahead – assemble to pan then stop until its time to serve) cover with tinfoil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until heated to 65 degrees C. enJOY

As always – I love reading your feedback and comments – let me know what you think and if you’ve tried any of my recipes or tips!  Follow me on Facebook (Joy In Your Kitchen) or Twitter (joyskitchen) or Pinterest (Joy Vogel-Lahti). Visit my biz website  Cheers!




Bullying – what does it mean to you? and No Bullies about it- Roasted Chicken 2 ways

Bullying.  Its a hot topic and a media buzz word right now. But what does it mean to you?  Your kids?  Does it mean the same thing?  Have you asked them?  After a conversation with another mom about what we considered bullying verses – in both our cases the other parent/caregiver did not consider it anything but “its just what kids do”, I thought I would have a conversation about it with my kids, aged 6 and 4 and see what they thought.
Question (s) posed:  “If one classmate/friend says that they don’t want to be your friend because you don’t want to do the same thing as them – is that “just being mean when your mad” or is it being a “bully” ?  How about if that classmate won’t let you play with them or others  because you don’t agree with them?  Wear different kinds of clothes than them?  Look different than them?  Just because they decide that you are different or not allowed (no reasons given)?
 After assuring them that there is no right or wrong answer I asked them for their feedback (i.e.Yes – that was bullying or No, not bullying – just being mean or mad”).   The kids (both) thought that in all cases this was bullying except if they said they didn’t want to play/be friends because you wanted to play something different”.    The end result was that there is a very fine line between “being mean” and bullying – I strongly feel that “being mean but just a kid being a kid” can lead to full on physical and emotional  bullying as they the kids get older if not addressed by the parent or caregiver.  If its not being addressed as bullying but being dismissed as “being kids” however other kids (peers of the same age) are interpreting it as bullying – then it’s clearly sending a message that bullying on a small scale is fine and acceptable behavior.  I mean if the parents/caregivers don’t feel it necessary to point out that – “those words” (“I don’t like  you – you are not my friend because you won’t play my game (or whatever)” and “No one wants you to be there friend”/”You are not allowed to be our friend”) are hurtful, mean and very real to the kids on the receiving end, how are the (bullies) kids  supposed to know when to draw the line? Its my belief that  kids are not born bullies but behavior is learned and that includes words.  If this peer interaction is okay with the parents in the primary grades – then when do they feel justified in stepping in as the children get older, take more for granted and feel more entitled?   Its my belief that addressing the bullying situation needs to be dealt with early and not just brushed off as “its what kids do” – if all parents/caregivers felt the same way – I wonder how far that would go in helping to eliminate the bullying cyber, emotional and physical that is prevalent now.  What do you think?

No Bullies About it- Roasted Chicken 2 Ways.

I make Roasted Chicken or Turkey at a higher temperature then many do – I find that it keeps the meat juicer and tender try it!    I also do not baste my birds I truly do not find it to make any difference in the taste and at the higher temperature you get nice crispy browned skin!  I do not cover my chicken when roasting.

Cooking Directions
(These are all using a 3LB Unstuffed Chicken – adjust time for larger birds) Roast at 425 for 1hr + (depending on your oven) 5-25 min.  Or until an internal temperature taken in the meaty part of the thigh is 180 degrees Remove from oven.  Cover with tinfoil and allow to rest (juices to retract) for 10 min before carving.


Melt butter, add thyme, rosemary and garlic rub into skin. Roast according to directions above.  If you like gravy, add some water or homemade chicken stock to bottom of roasting pan when cooking.  Hint: Add balsamic vinegar to your stock  for a thicker yummy  tasting gravy.

Red Chicken

The title sounds weird but this is a fantastic recipe to try if you are watching your saturated fats.  The chicken is roasted with the skin on, but the spice is applied between the skin and the meat – so it is absorbed by the meat while roasting, and not dried out.  The skin is discarded previous to serving.

In a small bowl mix to form a paste:

Zest from  lime
2 TB juice from the lime ( do not throw out the rind)
1 TB chili powder
1 TB paprika (smoked is really nice)
1 TB oregano
1 Tsp minced garlic (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
Once you have formed this into a paste, make a small slit in the skin by the opening to the cavity inside and slide the paste in the pocket you have created and rub all over meat.   Place the lime rinds (quartered) into the cavity of the bird.  Roast breast side up according to directions above – discard skin previous to carving.

Bullying Links:




Rollover, and over, and over again! Turkey

If you have been reading my posts – you know I like helping to make meal times simpler – now here is another rollover meal.  The great thing about this is that I actually made 3 meals out of this one.  Utility turkeys were on sale the other day so I grabbed one.  Now, utility turkeys are not exactly the best turkey around but it worked for these meals just fine!  I bought one that was 10.5LB – and made 3 meals a lunch and turkey stock out of it.  With side dishes it ended up being $7 per supper (to feed 2 adults 2 little kids) … budget friendly – YES!

Meal 1 – Classic Roasted Turkey

I tried something a little different with the classic roasted turkey this time, our kids don’t like stuffing (dressing) so I just rinsed the cavity and poured the juice of a lemon in, and rubbed with a little salt, then added some broccoli stems , carrots and onion in for flavour.  I added about 3 cups of water to the pan and roasted the turkey breast side down (I’d heard of this but had never tried it) on the premise that the birds juices would keep the breast nice and moist (it did).  I also had a 1/2 LB of bacon so I took some slices and laid them on the top of the bird as it cooked (about 1/2 way thru) not sure it added to the flavour since I was cooking it breast side down – but who doesn’t like the smell of bacon cooking?? Mixed with the smell of the turkey roasting – well suffice to say we were all pretty hungry when it came to supper time!

We served this with mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed broccoli and salad.

Pssssst – to make really yummy gravy – when you remove the neck of the bird previous to cooking – throw it into a small sauce pan with a carrot and onion & spices and let it simmer while the turkey cooks.  When the turkey is resting strain everything out of the stock and add it to the turkey drippings before you thicken with milk, cornstarch or flour.

Turkey Stock

Use your left over veggies from inside the bird and the carcass as well as a bay leaf, thyme and onions to a slow cooker fill with water, place lid on and cook on low overnight.  After it is cooked, I cool it for a few hours in the fridge, strain the fat off the top and freeze. I like to freeze a few small snack bags of stock (they hold about 1 cup) for easy use, as well as a large freezer bag of 4 cups for soups later!

Meal 2  – Creamy Stuffed Shells with Turkey

OK, before you read these ingredients – I morphed this recipe from one I found online.  While I think the “gravy” portion of this is kinda weird and couldn’t get my mind around it – I tried it anyway and it was good!  Next time however I think I would add lemon juice to the gravy and a little lemon rind to the filling.
Another variation I would try is add dill to the filling and lemon to the gravy or substitute out the gravy for a hollandaise or white sauce.

1/2 box (or about 16 jumbo pasta shells) – you can substitute cannelloni shells
4 oz cream cheese (softened) – I used plain but you could change to herb
3/4 c shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 c mashed potato (left over from night before)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sage
1 1/2 c left over turkey
1 1/2 c left over gravy
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the shells according to package directions.  Chop up turkey into small chunks (or you can put it through a food processor to grind it up if you don’t want to use your hand to mix it), add mashed potatoes and mix together until well mixed.  Put this mixture into mixer bowl, add spices (lemon rind if using),  cream cheese and 1/4 c of mozzarella. Add salt and pepper if desired.  Mix on medium for a few minutes until smooth.

Put about 1/2 the gravy into the bottom of a (sprayed with cooking spray or EVOO) lasagna type glass or baking pan.  Fill cooked shells with filling. I use a rice paddle or for large quantities use a pastry/icing bag. place seem side up in pan onto top of gravy.  Top with gravy (I found I have to heat the gravy to have it spread correctly) then top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.  Bake covered with tinfoil for 45 min then uncover and bake for another 10 min or until top is beginning to brown.   Serve with a salad and veggie.  EnJOY

Meal 3 – Hot Turkey Sandwich or Turkey Sandwich

After night 1 – We actually freeze  a dish made up of turkey slices, left over  stuffing (if it was made) and mashed (if there is any) and a side of gravy, so we can easily pull it out to make turkey sandwiches (Hot for Mom and Dad and toasted for the kids) for a no fuss classic comfort food on a busy night!

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