Lora’s Pressure-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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No, it’s not a typo. This is is Lora’s recipe, not Flora’s. It’s also the last dish I made to finish off the Christmas ham. You’ll find this recipe to be super tasty and easy to make plus there are tons of leftovers that are good to freeze. The hardest part is to remember to soak the beans the night before. Make yourself a little reminder so you don’t forget.

Before you start prepping your ingredients, make some rice. I use my Instant Pot as rice cooker, which is what I did, but you can obviously make it over the stove. I just recommend getting this out of the way before you make the rest of the meal.

While your rice is cooking, start on your chopping. There’s a lot of chopping, but that’s ok. You’ve got this. For instance, chop up an onion by using this little trick of cutting the onion in half, leave the root attached, slice into strips up to the root, and then across. You’ll end up with perfectly chopped onion pieces.

Red Beans and Rice

After you’ve chopped your ham and veggies into bit-sized pieces, start adding everything to your Instant Pot.

Red Beans and Rice

The only changes I made was to use Italian-style sausage instead of andouille and the only hot pepper sauce I could find in my fridge was sriracha.

Toss everything in the Instant Pot pot except your rice, which should be done by now. I keep two stainless steels pots so I can switch them out for this very purpose. Pull the rice pot out and put the beans pot in. Seal it up and cook on high for 30 minutes. Quick release and you’re done. Seriously that easy.

Maybe this is a preference, I did find a lot more liquid than I would have liked so I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the bean mixture before serving it over rice. If I made this again, I’d experiment with 2 cups of water instead of 4.

Red Beans and Rice

This recipe makes 10 servings so you should have plenty to freeze for another time. I froze a couple containers without the recipe so I can make fresh rice next time.

Red Beans and Rice

Lora’s Pressure-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces dried kidney beans
  • 2 cups cooked ham cubed
  • 12 ounces Italian-style chicken sausage or other sausage sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • hot cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and sort beans. Soak overnight according to package directions. Drain, discarding water, and rinse with cool water.
  • Prepare rice ahead of time and set aside.
  • In a 6-qt. Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker), combine beans, ham, sausage, vegetables, sriracha, garlic, salt, and water.
  • Lock lid and close pressure-release valve. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

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The first time I made this recipe was an utter failure and I don’t think it was me. There. I said it. My son liked it, but I don’t know why. It was so dry. Where’s the sauce? Where’s the cheese? It was full of peas, which he managed to remove with the precision of a surgeon. This was pretty much the top worst five “edible” recipes I’ve ever made.

Determined to make it right, I changed the recipe so drastically that I don’t consider it to be the same recipe anymore. I struggle to give the original recipe owners any credit because it might actually be bad publicity for them. I hope that’s not too harsh. My Catholic guilt is seeping through about the whole affair.

Ok, I’m over it. Make this. It’s super tasty and an easy weeknight dinner.

First prep your ingredients like mincing up a shallot and a few cloves of garlic. Dice your ham into bite-sized cubes. Shred your Swiss cheese. Sneak a few bits for yourself.

Heat up a pan with some olive oil, and cook the shallot and garlic until soft.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Add ham and cook for several minutes, stirring half way through, until browned on a couple sides. Add some pepper, and then add fresh tortellini and frozen peas.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

The original recipe didn’t specify fresh tortellini and had you use twice as much. They also called for 2 cups of peas. I love peas, but way too many peas.

After you’ve stirred it up a bit, add broth and cover. The original recipe called for less broth and not cover. Adding sufficient liquid and covering it is essential to making sure the tortellini is cooked through.

After this mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes (cook for however long your tortellini package tells you to cook it for), add cream and cheeses.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Here was another major flaw of the original recipe. Not enough cream and cheese. I know. Start your diet tomorrow. But seriously, if you want a cheesy sauce, you have to do it right.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

After it’s all mixed up, serve and garnish with a little parsley to make it look pretty.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

My family agreed this was 100% better than the first attempt. I’m pleased and you will be too.

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 meadium shallot minced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced ham
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 9 ounces fresh tortellini
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add ham and cook until browned, stirring once half way through, 6 minutes.
  • Season with pepper. Add fresh tortellini and frozen peas. Stir until mixed and then add chicken broth. Simmer until tortellini are al dente, about 10 minutes (or what the package recommends).
  • Add heavy cream and both cheeses. Stir until creamy. Serve and garnish with parsley.

Ham Tetrazzini

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For just the three of us, I bought a huge ham for Christmas thinking we’d be eating ham all year. Funny how delicious and easy ham is for a main course, sandwich, or just a snack. By the time I made this Ham Tetrazzini recipe by Spicy Southern Kitchen, the ham was gone. We ate it all. Wow. I’m tempted to buy another one. Who says who can’t order a huge hunk of ham any time of year?

Instead, I made this recipe with a ham steak, which is pretty easy to find at the grocery store and relatively inexpensive unless you buy the organic, uncured kind that I feel compelled to buy. I think it tastes better, but it’s probably just my imagination. Buy whatever ham you want.

This recipe is definitely a make again. The only change I made was to leave out the mushrooms since the boys won’t touch them with a 6-foot pole. I also didn’t cook the frozen peas because I didn’t want them to get mushy. Another thing I noticed is that the recipe didn’t give me any cooking times so I decided to add that to the recipe to help you guys out. I like to be able to time things and I’m sure some of you do too.

By the way, tetrazzini is totally old school and I’m okay with that. You should be too. I remember my grandmother telling me how much she loved it. And what’s not to love? It’s got meat. It’s got carbs. It’s got cheese. These are all good things.

Gather your ingredients. Dice up an onion and some ham. Measure out your peas and cheeses.

Ham Tetrazzini

Boil some spaghetti. You can use any kind of pasta so I think fettuccine or even egg noodles would have worked. The tall boiling pot I like to use encourages me to break the pasta in half. Frankly, I prefer shorter spaghetti. I know I’m “breaking” the rules. Not sorry.

I waited for my pasta to be done before making the sauce, but you can get a head start if you like. In a skillet, melt some butter and add your onion. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the soup, milk, and peppers. I actually ran out of white pepper so I added more than the prescribed black pepper. I actually don’t know why you need both black and white pepper, but let’s go with it.

Ham Tetrazzini

Mix that all up and then add your ham, peas, and cheeses.

Ham Tetrazzini

Stir it all up and cook until it’s melted, which is about a minute or two.

Ham Tetrazzini

The recipe said to salt it to taste, but I think it’s perfect without any additional salt because of the ham and cream of chicken soup.

Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the skillet. Mix it up.

Ham Tetrazzini

Put some onto a plate. Throw some parsley on it to make it look pretty. Voila! Dinner is served!

Ham Tetrazzini

What I liked about this dish is the creaminess without it being too rich. You can sub out milk for cream, but with the cheeses you don’t really need to do that. The smokiness of the ham adds another depth of flavor that is salty and comforting. Definitely go retro and make this.

Ham Tetrazzini

Ham Tetrazzini

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 10.75 ounces cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups ham diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions in salted water.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add soup, milk, and both peppers to the skillet and mix well.
  • Add ham, peas, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese and stir and cook over medium heat until cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add drained pasta to the pan and mix well.

Ham and Bean Soup

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I made an 8-pound ham for the three of us for Christmas dinner. Needless to say, I have more ham than I know what to do with. After eating plates and plates of sliced ham and leftover sides, I decided we needed to change it up a bit. I tried a ham and peas tortellini dish that needs a lot of improvement so I’ll share that once I’ve worked out the kinks. For now, we’re going straight to comfort food: Soup.

I got all ambitious and made my own ham broth, but that’s completely not necessary. I only did this because I had a ham bone and making broth is super simple to make in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you do. Take the meat bones (ham, chicken, turkey, anything really) and stick it in an Instant Pot along with chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Throw in some peppercorns if you have them and a bay leaf. Cover with water. Cook on high for 60 minutes and natural release. Done. Let it cool, strain all the stuff out, bag it in 2 cup servings, and freeze flat.

Now back to the soup. The base of the soup is from a recipe on the back of a bean package, but I made it better by adding ham and using broth instead of water. Always use broth or stock when you are making soups. Water just isn’t going to cut it if you want the depth of flavor. I don’t cook soup all day so using broth really makes the difference.

The hardest part is remembering to soak your beans overnight. I completely forgot so I soaked them all day instead. It was all good, but I was a little nervous there for a moment. I used cannellini beans because that’s what I had, but you can use any (pandemic) beans you happen to have.

Gather your ingredients. Rinse your beans in cold water and drain. Chop up everything that needs chopping.

Ham and Bean soup

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and saute your chopped veggies. Throw in some garlic powder (because you completely forgot to mince up some garlic…hey I’m not perfect, but try to use minced garlic instead) and a little black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes so the onion is softened.

Ham and Bean soup

Add chopped ham and mix it around a bit, cooking for a few minutes.

Ham and Bean soup

Then, add beans and 5 cups of broth. You can use more or less broth. Start with 5 cups and if you want your soup to be thinner, add more broth at the end.

Ham and Bean soup

Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce the heat until it’s simmering, which on my stove is the lowest setting. Cover and cook for a couple of hours. The longer you cook it, the creamier it’ll get. I was too impatient for that so cooked the soup until the beans were tender. Before serving, add more broth if you want. Taste it. Add salt and pepper if it needs it. Usually, I salt sooner, but the ham is already salty so you want to be careful not to over salt it. Serve in bowls and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top because like bacon, everything’s better with cheese.

Ham and Bean soup

I really like how this recipe is simple, healthy, and comforting. Nothing beats a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. Sorry canned soups. This is much better.

Ham and Bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups ham broth or other type of broth such as chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 pound chopped ham
  • salt to taste
  • grated Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Soak beans overnight in a bowl with at least 3 cups of water. Rinse beans with cold water and drain.
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes until onions are softened.
  • Add ham and saute for another 5 minutes or until ham starts to cook a bit.
  • Add drained beans and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 90 minutes or longer, until the beans are soft and the soup is as creamy as you want it. The longer you cook the soup, the creamier it will be. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
  • Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

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I love fish, but sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. Salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon seems to be my fallback, but it’s not very exciting. I want something more memorable, but not overpower the fish. Let’s keep it simple.

I came across a recipe from Delish that seems to be the solution to my fish situation. Making this recipe is so easy and good that I want to try it with other white fish to compare. Tilapia is a good choice though. It’s still relatively inexpensive, doesn’t have any bones to pluck out, and is tasty. Picky eaters like tilapia because it’s mild, not fishy. You’ll especially love the recipe if you’re a fan of garlic. If not, you might want to skip this round.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Plop your fish on the foil. Season with salt and pepper.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Combine melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice and a little lemon zest. Pour this over your fish. Add some sliced lemon and bake until the fish gently falls apart when you stab it in the middle with a fork (no, I’m not violent, just accurate).

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Done.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

That’s it. Can you believe it? I did drizzle a bit of the sauce over the fish and served it with couscous for the boys. I made myself a side salad. I even made the time to sprinkle some pretty parsley leaves to make it look fancy. Everyone was happy. Despite the name, it wasn’t too garlicky. There was the perfect amount lemon tang and no shortage of buttery goodness. Make again.

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tilapia
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • juice and zest of a 1/2 of lemon
  • 1 lemon round slices
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Season tilapia with salt and pepper. Place on an aluminum lined baking sheet.
  • Mix together melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour over tilapia. Top with lemon rounds.
  • Bake tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tuna Patties

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Yesterday was Christmas and I have more ham than I know what to do with so don’t be surprised to see some posts about ham this and ham that in the near future. I already have ideas of making a ham tetrazzini and other various “ham surprise” casseroles. In the meantime, we’re just going to pile our plates with leftover ham slices, scoops of green bean casserole, and mountains of mac and cheese.

Instead, let’s go back to September when I decided I needed to try out some new dishes on the boy. Much like some of the other retro foods of my childhood (such as Sloppy Joes and SpaghettiOs), I realized he’s never had a tuna patty, which was a staple growing up at my house. Inexpensive and tasty, tuna patties would show up at dinner at least once a month, particularly because they were so easy to make. And we loved them.

I found a recipe on Simply Recipes that I modified a little to make use of what I had in the pantry. Win-win. Dump a couple cans of drained tuna (reserve some of the liquid…you’ll need it) in a large bowl along with Dijon mustard, white bread pieces, lemon zest, lemon juice, reserved tuna liquid, parsley, and onions. Mix it up and then add some salt and pepper to taste. Don’t do what I did and throw your egg in before tasting it. Fortunately it all turned out good.

Tuna Patties

This is a very forgiving recipe so if you don’t have Dijon mustard, use yellow mustard. No white bread? Use wheat. No red onions? Use another kind of onion, like white or green. In fact, the recipe called for fresh chives, not onions. Right, like I have fresh chives laying around. I could have thrown in dried chives, like the ones we’d put on our baked potatoes growing up, but that’s beside the point. This is a good time to use up your pantry ingredients and still come out ahead. And if you accidentally throw out the tuna water, plain tap water is just fine.

Form into patties like you would hamburgers. You don’t have to, but chill them for an hour so they are easier to flip when you cook them.

Tuna Patties

Heat up some olive oil and butter in a skillet. Cook on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes. The nice thing is that the tuna is already cooked so most of the work is done for you. You just want them golden brown.

Tuna Patties

We ate them plain with a little lemon squeezed on them, but these would made really good sliders on Hawaiian rolls. The verdict? My husband thought they were great. We probably haven’t had a tuna patty in a couple of decades (yes, I’m old). My son wasn’t as impressed. What is up with his generation?! Maybe we’ll try them on rolls next time.

Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces tuna packed in water save some of the water
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon reserved tuna water
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onions
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Instructions
 

  • Drain the liquid from the tuna cans and reserve a tablespoon of the tuna water.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, and onions. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix in the egg.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place onto a wax paper lined tray and chill for an hour.
  • Heat the olive oil and a little butter in a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan. Cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

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I really love shrimp, but since my bad prawn experience and that I’ve tested positive for a shrimp allergy, I decided I better stay away from the whole crustacean family. I know there’s a difference between shrimp and prawns, but I don’t trust that the labels are being used correctly. I’m probably being too extreme because there was a time when I ate shrimp cocktail with wild abandonment. But a potential trip to the ER is not my idea of a good time so I think this isn’t much of a sacrifice.

As a result of my recent distrust of shrimp, I never make it anymore, which disappoints my husband a little. Plus with his innocent “chicken again” comment about dinner, I felt a little sorry for him. On top of that, my super picky son actually likes shrimp so I don’t want to stop serving it. Supposed he suddenly stops liking it?!

I’ve been making a lot of beans lately. I had a lonely single can of beans staring at me from the pantry. I needed to use it somehow. I googled shrimp and beans and found a delicious Kitchn recipe with the world’s longest name. It looked really easy to make. Bonus points.

When you buy your shrimp, keep in mind the cleaning situation. I usually splurge to buy shrimp that has been cleaned, have no shells, and deveined. Some would say to leave the shells on for more flavor, but that’s not my style. I don’t want to spend more time preparing the shrimp than actually cooking the shrimp.

Gather your ingredients. Mince some garlic and then slice even more. It’s definitely going to be garlicky. Zest a lime, cut it in half, and set the halves aside for later. I love using lime even more so than lemon with shrimp. Reminds me of shrimp tacos. Ok, this is going to be a little harder than I thought. Must get those delicious thoughts out of my head as I play the world’s smallest violin.

Chop up fresh cilantro. Set half aside and with the remaining half, add your seasonings (I used a little less red pepper flakes, but I encourage you to use the full amount) and some olive oil. You’re basically making a delicious marinade.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Mix it up and add your shrimp to it. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile stage the rest of your ingredients. You want to be prepared. Shrimp cooks super fast and the worst thing you can do is overcook it. In fact, I usually cook it a touch under (like 30 seconds) because it’ll continue cooking when you remove it from the heat.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Start on your tomatoes. I like using a cast iron pan, but any skillet will do.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Cook them until the skins pop. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. The shrimp will start to turn from translucent gray to a hint of opaque pink. No more than that! I would have taken a picture for you, but I would have overcooked the shrimp. Throw in the beans and sliced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately. The shrimp should no longer be gray at all. It’ll be slightly pink on the outside, opaque inside, and firm (not chewy or rubbery).

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Serve over rice with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Because I can’t taste it, I had to depend on the boys for feedback. My husband made me laugh when he said the dish was a “medley of flavors.” I guess he’s been paying more attention to my cooking shows than I thought. The boy thought the sauce was weird (the tomatoes probably freaked him out), but thought it was a “make again” meal. Two thumbs up!

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Garlicky Sauteed Shrimp with Creamy White Beans and Blistered Tomatoes

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 5 large garlic cloves divided
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes about 10 ounces
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Instructions
 

  • Grate 4 garlic cloves into a large bowl. Thinly slice the remaining 1 garlic clove and set aside. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the bowl, and then cut the lime in half and set aside. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems. Place half in the bowl and reserve the remaining half.
  • Add dried oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, and toss to coat. Let the shrimp marinate 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or heavy-weight skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes, and then season with kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the skins start to pop, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp with marinade and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the drained/rinsed beans and sliced garlic. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the shrimp are just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open, 3 minutes total.
  • Remove from the heat. Season with kosher salt and squeeze the lime halves over the shrimp. Garnish with the reserved cilantro, and serve immediately over rice.

Turkey Tacos

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I have a ton of turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Ok, maybe not a ton. More like 7 pounds. The boys have been eating turkey everything this week, including these turkey tacos that were delicious and easy to make. You can easily use chicken instead, but I needed to use up all this turkey so turkey it is.

Gather your ingredients. Chop up an onion. Shred the turkey. You know what to do.

Turkey Tacos

Saute the chopped onion in a little olive oil until cooked. Throw in the turkey, spices, and a little water. Mix it all up.

Turkey Tacos

When the water is mostly absorbed and your turkey is heated through, you are done. Assemble into tacos with your favorite toppings. See how easy that was?

Turkey Tacos

I have to admit that I usually make tacos using those seasoning packets (gasp!), but I really should break that habit. Mixing up cumin, coriander, and chili powder is just as easy as opening an envelope and is a great combination that provides lots of flavor. It doesn’t taste the same, but is just as good, if not better. These mild tacos are the opposite of spicy so feel free to throw in some hot sauce before or after you cook the turkey to kick up the fire. And don’t judge the flour tortilla. To each his own.

Turkey Tacos

Turkey Tacos

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 pound cooked skinless turkey shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • tortillas
  • your favorite taco toppings

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until cooked, for about 5 minutes.
  • In the same skillet, add turkey, cumin, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, and water. Stir to mix. Add salt to taste if needed.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes until the turkey is warmed through and most of the water is evaporated. Remove heat and assemble into tortillas. Add your favorite toppings.

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.

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.)