“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

-Julia Childs

Yield: Approximately 4-6 large servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

I love making chili for many reasons 1. It reminds me of my dad a.k.a Pops. 2. The amount of variety that ensues my kitchen table on chili night will bring a tear to any food lovers eyes. 3. You can have this bad boy on your table in 40 minutes tops.

Pointers:

  1. Stay away from cooking this recipe in cast iron, aluminum or an unlined copper pan, these are considered reactive pans. Cooking acidic foods (tomato products) in a reactive pan can alter the color and flavor of your dish.
  2. When cooling leftover chili-cool with the lid off, same reason as above. Leftover chili is the best and it always tastes better the next day! You can seriously put chili on almost anything- creamy polenta, brown rice, mashed potatoes and heellllooo chili cheese fries. You can even make another meal out of your leftovers how does a chili pizza sound or even chili quesadilla’s, Tex-Mex mac&cheese anyone?
  3. Not only can you put chili over anything BUT you can also top it with a million different tasties. Here are a few suggestions for toppers – avocado, cheese, green onion, red onion, lime, sour cream, tortilla chips, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, onion straws and/or classic oyster crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1c. red onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1c. green pepper (1 medium green pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2c. beef stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28oz)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 cans kidney or pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat oil in pan over medium heat saute onions, peppers and garlic for approximately 5 minutes.* Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add your ground beef or turkey and brown.
  • Incorporate dried herbs, sugar, beef stocks, tomatoes and beans.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes on low.
  • Taste- salt and pepper to taste-simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve in a big bowl over anything you choose, top with anything you choose! Enjoy!

Yield: 3.5 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes

This recipe is a fantastically light dish that will help you squeeze back into your favorite pair of pants after all that Thanksgiving Day goodness! If you’re not a fan of lettuce cups enjoy this treat on crackers or your favorite bread, but hurry find something because this turkey salad will go quickly however, whenever you serve it!

Pointers:

  • Repeat after me- I (insert name) promise to use fresh rosemary and only fresh rosemary and if, only in an emergency must use dried rosemary I will finely mince.
  • keep an eye and nose on your pecans and pull once they become fragrant. Nuts will burn quickly!

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups pulled turkey (approximately 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup small diced celery
  • 1/3 cup small diced onion
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 c. chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I recommend Hellman’s)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 8-10 leaves butter lettuce

Directions:

  • Toast pecans in oven for 8 minutes at 375 degrees onced cooled roughly chop
  • Small dice onions and celery toss with pulled turkey, dried cranberries and pecans
  • In small bowl whisk together mayo, evoo and rosemary, pour over turkey mixture and gently fold all ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place 1/2 cup of turkey salad on butter lettuce leaf and serve!
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 50 minutes

Growing up we called this Polish Lasagna, it was a recipe that was introduced to us later in our childhood and to this day I’m still upset that I was not eating all this potatoey goodness after all my dental surgeries! Blast you M and P for not discovering this sooner! Yes, I was shaking my fist while typing that line…. Now that I got that out of the way let’s chat about this super easy, super quick and super delicious recipe. This is a great way to use up those leftover mashed potatoes that have been chillin in the frig, if you don’t have leftover, do what you have to do to get some m.pots because you don’t want to forget about this perfect way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers! Here are a few more pointers…

*Make sure you warm up your taters-they will spread much easier

*Swiss cheese can release a good amount of fat- if your lasagna is too greasy after you melt that top layer of cheese simply use a paper towel to gently absorb some of the liquid.

*The milk seems weird, but it is necessary to cook the noodles.

*Have fun with the toppings, put out as much variety as you can and watch the kiddo’s/kids at heart culinary artistry come to life!! This recipe is super versatile and can be topped with anything from sausage to roasted veggies (my fave is sour cream and chives!)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 4 cups sliced sweet onions (2 medium onions)
  • 6 oz swiss cheese
  • 6 oz monterey jack cheese
  • 8 No Boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Toppings of choice-sour cream, chives, bacon, crumbled sausage, roasted veggies-your pick-go crazy!

Directions:

  • Thinly slice onions and cook over medium-low heat with butter and water until onions become translucent.
  • While onions are cooking shred cheese and combine both cheeses together, place aside until your ready to prepare lasagna.
  • Butter an 8×8 casserole dish and pour 1/4 cup milk on the bottom of pan. Break lasagna noodles in half and place 4 halves on the bottom of dish.
  • Spread 1 cup reheated mashed potatoes over noodles followed by 1/3 cup cooked onions and 1/3 cup cheese blend. Repeat 2 more times finishing with noodles to cover the last layer of cheese. Top with the other 1/4 cup milk.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 4o minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and top with rest of the cheese, bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  • Allow your potato lasagna to rest for 10 minutes, top with your favorite toppings and serve.

Yield: 3-6 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

This is a little twist on your basic holiday turkey. All the classic flavors are still present in this dish, but the bacon and herb butter add a huge amount of WOW! It is impossible to dry this turkey out and you can have it on your table in about an hour leaving you with plenty of opportunity to keep your side dishes piping hot!

A few pointers for success:

-Purchase your turkey breast directly from your favorite butcher, ask for bone out.

-Don’t let tying the turkey intimidate you. If this is your first time playing with twine I recommend preparing your turkey to cook the night before so you can take your time. You can wrap in plastic wrap and cook the next day. Watch the video (the link is in the recipes), but you can skip the part at the end where the Chef weaves the string to make the final tie. For this recipe you can simply tie the string ends together.

-Read all instructions first, there are a few pointers to help you along the way.

-Taste your sauce as you prepare. All stocks are different and all palates are different. Don’t hesitate to adjust the recipe as needed.

-HAVE FUN! When bacon is involved any recipe is hard to screw up!

Ingredients (in order of appearance):

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 sprigs of English Thyme +1 for gravy
  • 8 sage leaves + 3 for gravy
  • 1 large turkey breast
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions:

  • Roast garlic by cutting off the top of the whole head, pour evoo over garlic making sure to rub on sides. Place garlic in foil pouch and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until garlic caramelizes and becomes soft.
  • While garlic is roasting make an herb butter by simply mincing thyme and sage and stirring into softened butter.
  • Once garlic is roasted pop out cloves and mash with fork until a paste forms put aside to use for gravy. It doesn’t have to be perfect-we strain sauces on WTY.
  • Butterfly turkey breast then using tenderizer flatten meat until about 1/4 inch thick. Try to keep a rectangular shape.
  • Season turkey with fresh cracked black pepper and spread herb butter over turkey. Tightly roll turkey to form a log.
  • Place 1-2 piece of bacon vertically around turkey and wrap the rest of the bacon around turkey horizontally making sure to overlap bacon slices.
  • Next take butcher twine (3x’s the length of you turkey breast) and begin securing bacon. click link for video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFIwbUBiRSE
  • Place bacon wrapped breast in 5 qt. pan and slowly begin to render bacon over low-medium heat. *Do not preheat pan. Turn bacon wrapped turkey as it begins to brown to ensure even cooking. After bacon is caramelized move turkey to a broiler pan or roasting rack, *keep 5 qt pan as is for pan gravy. Finish cooking turkey in 400 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees ( 25-30 minutes). Temperature will reach 165 as it rests.
  • Pan gravy time! Pour off half the bacon fat and save for another delicious recipe. Place minced garlic in pan and cook until fragrant.
  • Deglaze (fancy term for pouring liquid in hot pan to release caramelized bits) by slowly pouring turkey stock into pan making sure to scrap all the good stuff (pro’s call it “fond”) from the bottom of the pan.
  • Whisk in roasted garlic paste, worcestershire and brown sugar place a few sage leaves and a thyme sprig in pan while letting stock reduce by half. This is a great time to cut the twine off you turkey and slice.
  • Mix together cornstarch and water and slowly add slurry to sauce. Once thickened pour through fine mesh strainer. Taste your sauce add salt and/or pepper if needed.
  • Place sauce on serving plate and sliced turkey over sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and viola!

Yield: 6-8 servings                         
Cook time: 25-30 mins
Prep time: quick version - 20 minutes
scratch version - 2.5 hours

This recipe is my man’s fave and I can say with confidence that this is one of the top five reasons he decided to finally propose. I’ll spare you the details of my love life and so we can start chatting about this amazing fall/winter dish. This is a semi-low fat version of the ultimate comfort food, classic chicken pie. I use olive oil and butter to saute the veggies and totally eliminate the heavy cream in order to keep the dish herbaceous and full of roasted chicken wonderment. Using pre-made pie dough and a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store is totally OK. No judgement here. If you are in the mood for a culinary marathon and want to make your pie totally from scratch my recommendations for a pie dough recipe and roasted chicken recipe are included in the ingredient list. Serve a slice or two of this soul warming pie with a light mixed green salad and you have yourself a winner winner chick..I’ll stop there. This recipe is a true family gem that even the pickiest of eaters will L-O-V-E! I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing one (uncooked) for a snowy day or better yet, share the love and give one to your neighbor. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (in order of appearance)

  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small diced onion (1 cup)
  • 1 small diced carrot (1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 small diced celery stalks (1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup small diced potatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 pound pulled roasted chicken *from scratch I recommend Julia Child’s Roasted Chicken recipe.
  • 9″ pie crust- *from scratch I recommend the pate brisee from simplyrecipes.com
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • prepare pie dough, either homemade or store bought
  • brown your butter (cook past melting point) in 5 qt pan add olive oil and cook onions, celery and carrots until semi soft add garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent. *add a pinch of salt and pepper at the beginning of cooking process.
  • stir in flour and cook until your roux (butter/flour) is a warm tan color.
  • slowly whisk in chicken stock (1/4 cup at a time for the first cup). Once incorporated add potatoes and whole fresh herb sprigs, cook (no lid unless vented) until potatoes are fork tender. *this is the perfect time to roll out your pie dough and place in dish*
  • pull herb sprigs and discard, gently mix in roasted chicken and peas.
  • pour chicken mixture into pie crust keeping the middle of the pie most plentiful.
  • place the top crust over mixture crimp and brush top with slightly beaten egg, make two small slits in middle of crust to allow ventilation.
  • bake 25-30 mins at 400 degrees or until golden brown
  • let rest for 10 minutes, cut and enjoy.