Saturday, November 26, 2011

Carmel Corn

I don't know what it is about fall, but fall brings out the snacker in me...puppy chow, carmel corn, cookies, chocolate covered pretzels...yummy! Today's Snackable is Carmel Corn.

The Deets
5-6 Cups of popped popcorn unsalted
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter (1 Stick)
4 Cups Mini Marshmallows

The How To
Melt Butter over medium heat
Add Brown Sugar and Marshmallows
Stir until evenly melted (Don't Overcook or it will be hard)
Pour over popcorn toss until evenly coated
Enjoy the gooey deliciousness
Happy Snacking!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey the secret's in the Brine!

The first time I ever hosted Thanksgiving was during law school, a bunch of us got together and had a nice little eclectic meal; I made my first turkey, was introduced to hashbrown casserole and as always ate too much dessert. My first turkey was ok, but I knew I could do better. The next time I hosted Thanksgiving, I got ambitious and tried brining. I was hooked at first bite. Brining makes the turkey flavorful, juicy and amazingly delicious.

My recipe is based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe, but even though he's the king of "Bam" I of course had to put my own spin on it. So before I share the recipe for a perfect turkey, here are a few tips about brining:
1. Plan Ahead, the turkey should be brined for 12 - 24 hours prior to cooking
2. Make sure you have a big enough pot or other container for the brine and turkey
3. Feel free to spice it up

Ok, On with the Brine!
The Brine Deets
2 Gallons Water
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Sugar
2 Oranges Quartered
2 Lemons Quartered
1 Onion Quartered
5 Bay Leaves
5 Basil Leaves
1 TBS Rosemary

The How to on the Brine
Remove innereds (giblets, liver, neck...) from Turkey
Rinse the Turkey
Dissolve Salt and Sugar in Water
Squeeze Oranges and Lemons into Water (then toss in the fruit)
Add Onions and spices
Slowly and Carefully add Turkey
Cover and let sit for 12 - 24 hours
Once the Turkey has had a nice briny bath it's time to get cooking. Remove the Turkey from the Brine and rinse. Loosen the Turkey's skin and place turkey in roasting pan.

The Deets for the Turkey
1 Turkey large enough to feed your group (I usually cook a 12ish pound bird)
Butter - Grab a stick and use as much as you think you'll need (I usually use about 1/2 stick)
1 Onion Quartered
2 Oranges Quartered
2 Carrots Quartered
2 Sticks of Celery Quartered
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Seasoning Salt
1 Cup Broth for Basting (premade or homemade your choice)

The How To Turkey
Preheat the Oven 325
Slip your hand under the turkey skin and slip in a few tablespoons of butter and massage onto Turkey
Stuff 1/2 Onion, 1/2 Carrots, 1/2 Celery, 1/2 Orange, and Bay Leaves in Turkey
Put remaining 1/2 Onion, 1/2 Carrots, 1/2 Celery, 1/2 Orange around Turkey
Flip the Turkey over, Breast Side Down and cook for one hour
Flip Turkey Breast Side up
Butter the top of the Turkey, sprinkle with Seasoning Salt and put back in the oven
Basting every 30-45 Minutes
Roast according to Turkey Weight
The Turkey is considered done when the internal temp is 165 (stick thermometer in inner thigh to get the best reading)
Let the Turkey Rest for 15-20 Minutes prior to carving.
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Puppy Chow

One of my favorite fall treats is puppy chow, otherwise known as muddy buddies. Simply put, it's chex cereal with chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. Correctly put, it is a delicious and under appreciated treat!

The Deets
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Almond Butter
6-7 Cups of Chex Cereal
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
The How To
Melt Chocolate (microwave in plastic bowl on 50% heat for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds)
Add Almond Butter to Chocolate and mix until smooth
Pour over Chex Cereal (or add Chex to chocolate mix) and mix until cereal is covered
Once cereal is well coated, dump into paper bag
Add powdered sugar
Shake until covered with powdered sugar
It's so easy my baby sister can do it (& eat 1/2 the bowl in one evening!)
Enjoy your quick and easy sweet treat!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Perfect Italian Salad

Every now and then you need a good crisp, classic Italian salad. This is a great classic salad that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. You can mix up the dressing and keep it on hand for a weeks worth of salads or make a big salad for a crowd, either way you'll have happy salad fans.

The Dressing Deets
1/2 Cup Low Fat Plain Yogurt
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 TBS Lemon Juice
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 TBS Sugar
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Basil Flakes
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 Cup Finely Shredded Parmesan Cheese

The How To
Add all ingredients and mix until smooth
Let Dressing set for 30 - 45 minutes prior to use so flavors can meld.

The Salad Deets
1 Head Romaine Heart Lettuce - Roughly Chopped (about 4 Cups)
4 Cups Spinach - Roughly Chopped
2 Tomatoes - Diced or Sliced - your preference
1 Cucumber - Peeled and Sliced
1/3 Small Red Onion Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup (about 6-8) Pepperoncini Peppers
1/2 Bag of Croutons (About 1 1/2 - 2 Cups)
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Toss Salad ingredients into a large bowl and add dressing.

Plate, Pray & Enjoy!