The Chef

Holidays at Home

“Fortunately, she had remembered to stock up on Prozac before going home for the holidays”

This year, J and I hosted our 3rd Thanksgiving at our house! We have had Christmas at our house for 6 years now! For some reason, Turkey Day seems to be more stressful. It’s all about the food!!! Everyone looks forward to overly-stuffing themselves and watching football! We always make honey spiral ham and it is delicious, but this year, we wanted to make a turkey also, so we decided to make both. As I have mentioned before, J’s grandma is an amazing cook and has set a pretty high bar! No matter how many times you make something, it will never taste like grandma’s!! I decided to make a few of her recipes, but wanted to have my own bar to set with my own recipes. Not necessarily better, just different!

Mission Accomplished!!! My In-laws said it was the best turkey they had ever had!!!! We received the nicest compliments from everyone!! Here are the delicious and simple recipes!!!Hope you also hear “Yums” all around the table!!! Bon Appetit 🙂


We decided to brine our bird, which made me extremely nervous! I had never even made a turkey and had no idea how it would turn out….It was easy and yummy and a recipe keeper!!!

Good Eats Roast Turkey:


  • 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
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 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


Click here to see how it’s done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

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.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

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. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving

Crockpot Stuffing:

This recipe is simple, delicious, and gives you more room in the oven!! 🙂

  • 12 Cups of Bread crumbs (we used 2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing)
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 2 cups of chopped celery
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Sage
  • 1 tsp. Thyme
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

Melt butter and mix all ingredients together. Cook in crockpot on High for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cook for approximately 5 hours, stirring occasionally.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced (I use red onion)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries


Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is nice and bubbly.

Add half the cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cranberries and cook another 5 minutes or so.

Scalloped Corn:

  • 2 big cans corn drained
  • 2 big cans cream style corn
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup crushed crackers
  • 2 Tblsp. flour
  • 2 Tblsp. melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • American cheese slices to cover the top

Mix all together, except cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-60 minutes. 10 minutes before done, cover top with cheese!

Green Bean Casserole:

  • 1 10 oz. can of Campbell’s cream of Chicken OR Mushroom Soup
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups of French fried onions
  • 2 Cans of green beans drained or 2 pkgs of frozen cut green beans, thawed

Mix soup and milk, add pepper, beans and 2/3 cup of onions in casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with remaining fried onions and bake for 5 minutes.

Bacon and Onion Carrots:

Adjust amount depending on desired servings!!

  • 2 pound bag of carrots (approx), peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (approx) of thick slab bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (approx) of onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook bacon and onion on medium-high heat until tender. Add carrots and S&P, stir and cover. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft, approximately 45 minutes. Add a few drops of water if needed. ENJOY 🙂

Easy Gravy:

Double If needed!!! 🙂

  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fat Drippings
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • S&P to taste

In a saucepan, bring stock up to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with cold water, set aside. Slowly add water and cornstarch mixture to stock, stirring until mixed well. Add fat drippings, S&P, and any other spices you desire. Continue stirring. Let boil for one minute, remove from heat.
Apple Pie:

  • 1 Box of Pillsbury Premade Pie Crusts, Both Packages
  • 5 Northern Spy apples
  • 3/4 cup fine sugar, plus extra
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • half a lemon for juice

Unroll 1 pie crust into a 9 inch pie plate, sprinkle a little flour in the shell.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel, core, and slice apples. Mix apple slices with sugar, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Place apple mixture in pie shell. Place second pie crust on top and form to the edges of the pie plate. Sprinkle pie crust with cinnamon and sugar if wanted. Cut slits in the top crust to allow for steam to release in oven. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until pie is fully baked and apples are tender. YUMMY!!!! 🙂

Tip: I always use my Pampered Chef pie crust plate to keep the edges of the crust from getting too brown!!! If you don’t have one, you can always use foil!

Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can carnation Evaporated Milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Dust Pie shell with a little cinnamon. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Pecan Pie:

  • 1 Premade Pie Crust
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Tip: Sometimes, we just don’t have the time, energy, or desire to make everything from scratch! Sometimes it’s even cheaper to Fake It than Make It. And when we do make it, it may not turn out right or look how we had hoped! The pecan pie above is baked, but I’m including a Faked pie below! Put the Faked pie in your own dish and nobody will know 😉

If you have any questions about these recipes, feel free to ask!! HAPPY COOKING!! 😉


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