Thanksgiving Dinner 2020

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It goes without saying that 2020 has been a most usual year. This year has made a significant impact in the way we live our lives so Thanksgiving looked differently this year too.

We usually have anywhere from 7-10 people over and a decent sized turkey. Because it was just the three of us, I took a different route this year and purchased an 8 pound bone-in, skin-in turkey breast. None of us want the legs anyway and I detest working with realistic food so let’s just avoid the whole bird cavity thing.

It turns out that I wasn’t the only one with this idea and found lots of turkey breast recipes. I settled on one of Ina Garten’s recipes. I trust her completely so I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong.

Everything turned out fantastic except the rolls and that was completely my fault. I was so excited at how they looked after 20 minutes in oven that I pulled them out before they were golden brown. They ended up being like rocks. Sadness. Eat more stuffing, people.

First, pull out the turkey from the refrigerator at least an hour before you roast it. It’ll roast more evenly than if you stick a cold bird into a hot oven.

While it’s sitting, prepare the paste that you’ll run under and on the skin. Gather your ingredients. This is one of those times where you really should use fresh herbs. You just spent all this money on your turkey so you should invest a little more on fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage. The extra chopping won’t kill you and the herbs smell good too.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mix together all the ingredients, except the white wine, in a small bowl. Take a sip of wine to make sure it’s ok. You don’t want to poison anyone with bad wine.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mix it up until it turns into a paste.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Loosen the skin with your fingers to make a large pocket and spread half of the paste directly on the meat. Rub the rest over the skin. If I had to do this again, I’d probably put all the paste under the skin and just season the skin with salt and pepper. Why? Because we threw the skin away along with all those good seasonings. If you like skin, do it Ina’s way.

When you are done, it’ll look something like this. Little did I know how ginormous an 8 pound turkey breast could be. It’s huge. And that includes the bone. Anything bigger and I would have needed a larger roasting pan. At this point, I’ll refrain from making any large breast jokes. This is a family show, people. Move along.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Throw a cup of wine in the roasting pan. Drink the rest.

In a preheated 325 F oven, roast the bird for about 2 hours. Ina says to pull it out when the internal temperature reaches 165 F, but I like to pull it out sooner, at 155 F, and let it sit longer. The turkey will continue to cook and eventually rise up to 165 F.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

After it’s done resting, slice it up. Soooo much easier than carving a whole turkey.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Garnish with a few fresh herbs. I chose sage, the scent of Thanksgiving. The recipe says to spoon the pan juices over the turkey, but I completely forgot and dug in. You guys are lucky I even remembered to take a picture. There was a whole table full of sides to get to and I forgot to take a picture of that. But I have to say this was an amazing flavorful turkey that was not the least bit dry and did not disappoint. There will be tons of leftovers. Make again.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast, about 6 1/2-7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 155-165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.
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Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I made this really delicious slow cooker recipe from The Food Network a few weeks ago when the weather started getting a little chilly. Hey, it’s slow cooker season! Then again, when is it not slow cooker season? Regardless, we are in pandemic mode, working and studying at home. Having the awesome smells coming the kitchen was an extra treat while plugging away. The end results were delicious plus it was super simple to make.

I didn’t change a thing. Not much more to say about that. Sometimes a recipe is just right.

I gathered my ingredients, but put aside the cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll add that later at the end. There were a lot of ingredients, but nothing too exotic.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slice an onion in half and stick a clove in each half. Ok, that’s a little strange, but it turned out not to be weird after all. The clove gave it a hint of spice that I wouldn’t have thought of. Next, slice the apple chicken sausages in half lengthwise. Throw everything in the slow cooker (well, measure first, of course) and mix, making sure the onion, sausage, and beans are all nestled in together. Cook on high for 6-7 hours until the beans are tender.

Remove the onions. They were there only to add flavor. Stir in vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Then let it sit for at least 15 minutes. This last addition really gives it a tang.

And that’s it. Seriously. The hardest part was waiting. The apple sausage gave the dish a sweet taste that complemented the honey mustard and molasses. The dish was a perfect blend of tangy sweet and completely comforting. With the soft texture of the beans, everything felt like it was melting in your mouth.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

I will definitely make this again. We managed to eat most of the sausages in one sitting, but there were plenty of beans leftover, which we enjoyed as sides until they were gone.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beans and Sausage

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 pound dry navy beans rinsed and picked over
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small onion halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken apple sausages halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the broth, water, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, barbecue seasoning and garlic in a slow cooker. Add the beans. Push a clove into each onion half. Tuck the onions and sausages into the beans in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender, about 6-7 hours.
  • Discard the onion halves. Stir in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture sit, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. (The longer the beans sit, the more flavorful they will be.)
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