Tired of endlessly flipping through cookbooks and websites for recipes?

I'm here for you! I try out recipes and post the successes, so you don't have to waste time on failures. I only post the VERY BEST recipes I try out. You can be confident that if you plan to serve any of these, they will be a success! Don't substitute or you will not get the same result!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roasting the Perfect Turkey

I'll just come out and say it: I've never cooked a turkey before. I'm a little embarrassed since I supposedly like to cook :). So I found this recipe on the Food Network with high ratings. I had to google "how to prepare a turkey" since I didn't have any clue.

So, for those of you who haven't cooked a turkey before, the only thing you have to do is remove the innards from the rear of the turkey (but they are packed in paper so they aren't too gross) AND remove the neck from the front of the turkey. The turkey also must be completely thawed.

The brine gave the turkey a wonderful flavor. Also, the cooking times listed below are right on, creating just the right amount of moisture in the meat (meaning, it's not too dry!). This recipe is completely delicious.


1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock (you can make this homemade or use vegetable broth if you don't have time)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (whole allspice)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage

Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. (OR just buy a fresh one!)

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

The day you'd like to eat the turkey:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. Cover breast of turkey with foil. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 3 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

This sauce MADE my first turkey dinner. It's like candy and blends perfectly with a traditional turkey dinner. Find the original recipe here--I made some alterations to thicken the sauce.


2 cups apple juice
1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 cup sugar
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 teaspoons corn starch


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the apple juice, cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove 8 ounces of the liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch-juice mixture (slurry) to the cranberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, about one hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Coconut Bundt Cake with Pineapple Glaze

I was thinking of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when I saw this recipe (you know when the guy's family brings the bundt cake and the Greek mom puts a plant in the middle since it has a hole in it?) So I thought I'd give it a whirl and wow! This cake is amazing. I had to make some alterations to the cooking time and to the glaze, but it turned out oh so delicious. My mother-in-law and my husband had two servings (that never happens). The original recipe is on the food network here.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Pineapple Glaze, recipe follows
1/2 cup flaked coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (or butter thoroughly) and dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Once incorporated, add the extracts. Stir in the coconut milk and beat until combined. Add 1/2 cup flaked coconut. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes-1 hour. Cool cake 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack. Let cool completely on the rack.

Once the cake has cooled, ladle the glaze over the cake, and top with flaked coconut. Let glaze set before serving.

Pineapple Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons pineapple juice

In a mixing bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and the pineapple juice together until smooth.