Smoked Turkey

Smoked Turkey

Author note: If you prefer to roast a turkey, follow the steps for this smoked turkey brine and then roast according to this recipe. This recipe was also featured in The Dallas Morning News. Click here to read the story.

1 brined turkey (between 15-18 lbs)

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

1 sprig of sage

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of rosemary

1 apple, quartered

1 head of garlic, halved

1 onion, quartered

extra-virgin olive oil

apple juice, in a spray bottle

grill thermometer

  1. Remove the turkey from the brine. Pat dry. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 250 – 275 degrees. Add your preferred smoking wood to the fire while the grill is heating.
  3. Tie the sage, bay leaves and rosemary with kitchen twine.
  4. Stuff the turkey with the peppercorns, herb bundle, garlic and onion.
  5. Lightly coat the turkey with the olive oil.
  6. Place the turkey onto the grill. Spray the outside of the turkey with apple juice. Spray the turkey with apple juice once more after 2 hours of smoking.
  7. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast. Close the grill and cook until the temperature reaches between 163-165 degrees, about 4 – 5 hours.
  8. Remove the turkey from the grill. Cover with foil and let the turkey rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the ingredients placed inside the turkey. Carve and serve.

for the turkey brine

2 gallons water

2 tablespoons whole peppercorns

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/3 cup kosher salt

2 sprigs of sage

4 fresh bay leaves torn in half

7 sprigs rosemary

2 heads of garlic, halved

2 apples, quartered

orange peels from 2 oranges

  1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pan. Heat the brine until sugar and salt have dissolved, stir occasionally. Remove the brine from the heat and bring to room temperature.
  2. Place the turkey in a 32 quart plastic container. Pour the brine over the turkey.
  3. Place the turkey into the fridge and let brine for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours.

Grill Tips

After the grill has reached the desired temperature, wait at least 30 minutes prior to adding the turkey. 15 pounds of cold mass in the grill can throw off the temperature and may greatly change the cooking time if the grill is not sufficiently heated.

Use a drip pan to collect the drippings for a unique addition to your meal. Be careful when incorporating them into sauces or gravy, a little smoke flavor goes a long way.

Take a quick peak at the turkey after about 3 hours. If the skin is starting to look done before the thermometer indicates doneness, use some foil to cover those areas to slow the cooking.

Select a smoking wood that pairs well with poultry. I like pecan or fruit wood (apple, cherry, etc). Mesquite and hickory, though very Texan, can overwhelm the turkey. Again, a little goes a long way. Two or three fist-sized chunks should be plenty.

A gas grill can work just as good as a charcoal one for smoking. Set it up to use half the grill while the meat will reside on the other half. Also grab one of the many products available to house smoking chips or chunks on the grate.

Slow Cooker OR Pressure Cooker Collard Greens

Slow Cooker OR Pressure Cooker Collard Greens

Author note: Frozen collards also work for this recipe (and significantly decrease prep time), however increase the cook time on the pressure cooker method to 30 minutes when using frozen collard greens.

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (hot or mild)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 pounds collard greens, ribs removed and cut

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons “Slap Yo Mama” Seasoning (or your favorite Cajun seasoning)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

for the electric pressure cooker method

  1. Place the oil, sausage, onions, garlic and salt into the pressure cooker. Using the sauté feature on the electric pressure cooker, sauté for 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add the collard greens, chicken stock, sugar, garlic powder, seasoning and apple cider vinegar. Secure the lid and cook on high-pressure for 25 minutes (or 30 minutes for frozen collards).
  3. After 25 minutes turn off the pressure cooker and quick release the pressure.
  4. Serve warm.

for the slow cooker instructions

  1. Place the oil, onions, 2 teaspoon salt and sausage into a skillet. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked and the onions softened.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. Add with the sausage mixture and stir until combined. Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  3. Serve warm.

Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake

Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake

unsalted butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 apples, sliced

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

favorite yellow cake mix

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

powdered sugar, for topping

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the interior sides of a rectangular baking dish.
  3. Mix the cake batter according to the instructions, but also add the orange extract, allspice, cardamom, cloves, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  4. Pour the butter on the bottom of a favorite cake pan (I used a 10×7). Evenly distribute the brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  5. Lay the apple slices on top of the butter mixture. Pour the cake batter on top of the apples.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or according to the cake mix instructions for the size of the pan used.
  7. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Using a flat silicon spatula, gently remove the edges of the cake from the cake pan. Once the edges are separated, flip the cake onto a serving tray or dish. Serve warm.

Pressure Cooker Cinnamon Rice Pudding with Bourbon Candied Walnuts

Pressure Cooker Cinnamon Rice Pudding with Bourbon Candied Walnuts

Author note: Lightly sweetened whipped crème fraiche is folded into this rich and decadent cinnamon rice pudding. This chilled dessert is infused with vanilla and cinnamon to create a warm flavor profile. The brown butter bourbon candied walnuts add the perfect crunch to each bite.

1 cup whipping cream

2 1/2 cups half and half

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

seeds of 2 vanilla bean pods

1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon of sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup arborio rice

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

whipped crème fraiche, see recipe below

browned butter bourbon candied walnuts, see recipe below

  1. Place the half and half, cream, salt, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, sugar and cinnamon stick into the electric pressure cooker. Using the sauté feature, cook for 7 minutes. Whisk occasionally to incorporate the ingredients and to prevent browning.
  2. Add the rice into the half and half mixture. Stir well.
  3. Secure the lid onto the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, turn off the pressure cooker.
  4. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Then use the manual pressure relief and remove the lid.
  5. Place the eggs and egg yolks into a medium sized-bowl. Temper the eggs with the some of the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker. Add the tempered eggs into the pressure cooker, constantly whisking as you pour.
  6. Using the sauté button, cook the rice pudding for an additional 2 minutes, or until the rice pudding has thickened. Stir constantly.
  7. Pour the rice pudding into a long baking pan. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Cover the rice pudding by placing plastic wrap directly on top of the rice pudding (this will prevent a skin from forming on top of the pudding).
  9. Place the pudding into the fridge and let chill for 4 hours, up to 24 hours.
  10. Spoon 4 tablespoons of rice pudding and 4 tablespoons of whipped crème fraiche into a small serving bowl. Gently fold the two together.
  11. Top with chopped brown butter bourbon candied walnuts. Serve chilled.

for the whipped crème fraiche

1 cup whipping cream, cold

1/2 cup crème fraiche, cold

2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Place all ingredients into a large bowl. With an electric mixer, whip on high until stiff peaks form. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

for the brown butter bourbon candied walnuts

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  1. In a medium sized skillet heat the butter on medium for about 10 minutes, or until it is nicely browned.
  2. Next, add the bourbon, water, brown sugar, vanilla and salt to the skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce for about two minutes.
  3. Finally, add the chopped walnuts and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the syrup is thickened and coats the walnuts.
  4. Cook for an additional two minutes, stirring frequently. This cooks the walnuts to achieve a crunchy texture.
  5. Spread the candied walnuts in one layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Let the walnuts air dry for at least four hours before serving.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Skillet Pork Chops with Parmesan Arugula Israeli Couscous

The older my kids get the more pressed I am to get creative with dinner.

Each night it seems like there is an activity to participate in outside of the house. With each post-school afternoon comes the same rituals at home: relax, homework and piano practice. At times it seems like a lot and deep inside I know what my children need the most—quality time with family.

That’s where the dinner table comes into play.Nourishment revolves around this table and it comes in many vessels.

How do I use table time to feed my family? Responsibilities. Prayer. Food. Conversation.

I desire quality time during quality meals during the week. I’ve come to rely on one pot wonders for at least one of these meals during the week.Recently, we’ve come to enjoy Skillet Pork Chops with Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Couscous. It’s quick and all elements of the meal (main dish and side) are cooked in the same pan. Plus, it requires me to grab only 8 ingredients while I’m doing my weekly shopping at Market Street. And that, my friends, is an even bigger win.

This meal has become a weekly recipe for me recently because it’s not that involved. Plus I can focus on other elements that make a quality experience during dinner time.Responsibilities. I have my children help set the table while I’m cooking. I get down the plates and they place the remaining elements: utensils, napkins, drinks. Giving them chores is a way to help nourish their development. It shows them how to work as a team, how to help others (me, so I don’t have to do as much) and it encourages initiative. There have been times when I haven’t even asked and my darling boy has already set the table.

That is a parenting win.
We pray for others at the dinner table—another form of nourishment, but for the soul and mind because we are thinking of others, helping others and giving thanks.

Then we eat and while we eat, conversations flow. We tell stories of our days, laugh at jokes that the kids make up (which may or may not be funny), we discipline (yes… because feeding the dog or putting feet on the table is JUST not acceptable).All these elements feed our beings and I look forward to it. I find peace when we are together at the table —working together, thinking of others, gathering around edible and nonedible sustenance.

It’s hard during the rush of the day to relish these moments but there is value in it. I love the dinner table and use it to the benefit of my family. I want you to as well.

I hope this one pan, quick weeknight meal filled with quality ingredients from Market Street will give you the momentum to carve out at least one night a week for a moment to feed your family.

Skillet Pork Chops with Parmesan Arugula Israeli Couscous

Author note: Be sure to select a thick butterflied pork chop for this recipe. If the couscous gets dry while cooking, add additional chicken stock.

3 butterflied pork chops

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 1/2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 chopped sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated

1/4 cream

3 cups arugula, rough chopped

1 1/3 cup couscous

  1. In a cast iron skillet heat the olive oil over high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Place two pork chops into the skillet. Brown for 1 1/2 minutes per side, for a total of 3 minutes (this may have to be done in two batches, depending on the size of the pan and pork chops). Remove the pork chops from the heat and cover.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the onions. Lower the heat to medium. Cook the onions off the heat for 2-3 minutes, stir occasionally. Place back onto the burner.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar. Scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.
  5. Add the chicken stock, sundried tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and couscous. Stir and cover with foil. Simmer for 7 minutes.
  6. Add pork chops into the skillet (if the liquid is reduced, add a splash or two more of the chicken stock). Simmer for another 5-6 minutes, or until the pork has reached 145 degrees internal temperature.
  7. Remove the pork and cover. Reduce the heat to low. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir until its melted and incorporated into the couscous. Stir in the cream, parmesan and arugula. Salt to taste.
  8. Serve the pork chops and couscous together and warm.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own.

Nerds Ice Cream

Nerds Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups Nerds

  1. 24 hours before making ice cream with an electric ice-cream maker, place the freezer bowl in the freezer. Check your ice cream maker manual for specific instructions.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally and not to let it boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the yolks and sugar. With a whisk, break the yolks and combine with the sugar.
  4. Remove the liquid from the stovetop and temper the yolk mixture. To temper the yolks, whisk the eggs quickly while slowly adding the warm liquid (about 1/4 cup at a time) until all the liquid is combined.
  5. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Let it chill for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
  6. Place the ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker and mix for 20 minutes, or until the ice cream is thickened to the desired consistency.
  7. Serve immediately for soft serve, or place in a freezer safe container and freeze for a firmer texture.

Apple Tea Punch

Apple Tea Punch

Author note: If you’re craving something a little warm instead of cold, follow these steps once the fruit has marinated with the tea: remove the punch from the fridge, strain the fruit from the liquid and heat the liquid until warm. If you’re serving to a large party, heat the punch in a crockpot and serve warm. If you prefer a stronger tea flavor, use 4 tea bags. A splash of rum or bourbon would be a nice spirit to add to this elixir.

4 cups apple cider (or apple juice)

3 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole cloves

1 cardamom pod

3-4 family sized tea bags

1 orange, halved and sliced

1 apple, diced

  1. In a large saucepan combine the cider, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pod. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then lower the heat (to low) to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags to the mixture. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Let the mixture cool for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add the orange slices and apple pieces to a large pitcher. Pour the punch over the fruit and place in the fridge. Let marinate for 6 hours.
  4. Serve chilled with ice and apple slices.


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