Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brown bag turkey {The best roasted turkey method ever!}





A few years back, I found an interesting new way to roast a turkey over at Real Mom Kitchen. She had a method for roasting the turkey in a brown paper bag, like those you get from the grocery store (if you ask for them). I was intrigued by this, and did some more research on it. I decided to try it out, and it was such a success that this is the way I roast turkeys now. Forever! 

I didn't use the recipe, just the idea. I did follow the basic directions of wetting the paper bag first--but don't soak it. Roast the turkey at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes per pound. Unless your bag is really large, you will need two bags.

Here is what I do: butter and season the turkey with garlic, salt, pepper, sage & thyme, putting some of the butter and seasonings under the skin. I also halve an onion and an apple and put those inside the cavity of the turkey. If I have them, I also stick in a couple of celery sticks. Set the turkey inside a roasting pan, and then slide one open brown paper bag over one end as far as it will go, and then slide the other bag over the other end of the pan. The two bags should overlap around the pan and completely cover the turkey. Use a spray bottle to mist the outsides of the bag, or wet your fingers and rub them over the bag to moisten it. Don't soak the bag, just get it wet.  Put the whole production in the oven and set the timer according to the size of the turkey. Don't worry--the bag won't catch fire unless the oven is at least 450. I have done half a dozen brown bag turkeys, and I have never yet had a bag catch fire. Note that when it first goes in the oven, you will smell the bag, but no worries.

Don't peek until the timer goes off, and then you can carefully open up one end and check the temperature of the turkey for doneness. Let the turkey rest in the bag for 20 minutes before carving.

This method makes the most beautiful brown, juicy, flavorful turkey. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

 This Christmas Eve, we started a new tradition. We started out at Crown Burger--a family favorite--and because we have only gone there on rare occasions, it was a yummy treat.

 We then visited Temple Square to see the lights. Surprisingly, it was much less busy than at other times of the month, which is just what I was hoping for.


 We definitely weren't the only ones there, but it was still much less crowded! It was really cold, but worth it.

We discovered the nativities from around the world that are set up east of the temple on the church administration building plaza. These were a couple of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Bread with Buttery Cinnamon Sugar Crust


Today is the perfect day for baking. After a couple of snow-deficient years, we seem to be trying to make a comeback. It's looking like our New Year's snowman will be an epic one!

This bread uses my bread dough recipe as the base and is easy to put together. It's also family-approved!

Cinnamon Roll Bread with Buttery Cinnamon Sugar Crust
makes 8 4-inch loaves

1 recipe basic dough, risen once

Remove the risen dough from the bread machine to an oiled counter. Let it rest 10 minutes. 
Roll the dough into a large rectangle. You want the dough to be about 1/4" thick. Cut the rectangle in half the long way. Butter each half liberally. Don't be shy! Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar over the buttered dough, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Once again, don't be shy. Roll up each dough half into a log, starting with a long side. Pinch the long edge closed. 

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each dough log into 4 equal sections. You can pinch the ends closed if desired, but it's not necessary. Place each section in a 4" pan that has been lightly sprayed on the bottom. Melt 1/4 c. butter, then divide by pouring over each loaf. Sprinkle each loaf with granulated sugar and cinnamon. 

Let the dough rise for 30 minutes, then bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool slightly on wire racks, then remove bread from pans to cool thoroughly.

If desired, drizzle a powdered sugar, butter & vanilla glaze over each loaf.   

Monday, December 21, 2015

How to #Yodify Your Language

Have you seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet? We have, and it is AMAZING! #dontmissit #nospoilershere

Today's post is a fun one, courtesy of Grammarly.



Yodify your Grammar Infographic

Friday, December 18, 2015

Don't mess with the ornament of honor.

This is known as "Dad's Utah ornament" in our house. Every year, it goes front and center on the Christmas tree. Even if the rest of tree is blue & silver.


Sarah came in from work one night and pulled the ornament off the tree while saying, "This is red! It doesn't match!"

She found out, you don't mess with Dad's Utah ornament. ;)

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls



This meal is an easy, yummy way to have a good dinner ready for your family, even during the crazy Christmas rush!

You can serve it in a variety of ways: as is, or piled on a bed of tortilla chips, or wrapped up in a tortilla and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. 

We lined our bowls with tortillas, then topped the whole shebang with grated cheese, chopped tomato, avocado and sour cream. Delicious!

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 14-15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1 c. chicken broth (or 1 c. water and 1 tsp. chicken bouillon)
2 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder (or more to suit your taste)
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. dry minced onion
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 c. regular long-grain rice
 
Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with the tomatoes, chilies, broth, beans, corn and spices. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Remove the lid and shred the chicken with two forks. Stir in uncooked rice. Cover and cook for one hour. Serve topped with your choice of shredded cheese, diced tomato, avocado, sour cream and/or salsa. Enjoy!
  
 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Easy Taco Braid


Hello, yummy taco braid!

This is a twist on traditional tacos that's easy to make and fun to eat. I saw the recipe over at 365 Days of Baking & More, and then more adapted it for our family.

Step 1: Brown 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef and then add your favorite taco seasoning. Get out a canister of ready-made pizza dough, or make your own ahead of time. My version is here. 

Step 2: roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Using scissors or a pizza cutter, snip both long sides of the dough about 1-inch apart and 3 inches deep, like so:

Step 3: Take the prepared taco meat and pile it in the center of the dough between the snipped edges.

Step 4: Cover the meat with your favorite taco cheese. I used shredded cheddar-jack cheese. Top that with some diced tomato if you like. A little salsa would also be good.

Step 5: Simply fold all the snipped pieces of dough over each other to cover the filling. It is helpful to fold up the bottom ends first, then cover with the edge pieces. Then sprinkle more shredded cheese over the top. We like a lot of cheese around here. 

Step 6: Bake the taco braid in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 22 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, and then top it with your favorite taco toppings: shredded lettuce, more tomato, sour cream and avocado are our favorites.


This will definitely take your taco night up a notch! Our family loved it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cranberry Bundt Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

Today is my Mia's 14th birthday!

Mia loves cranberries. She has devoured pounds and pounds of cranberry sauce in her 14 years--probably way more than the average person consumes in a lifetime. I'm not even joking. She prefers homemade, but she'll eat the stuff in the can too. :)



This cake is delicious. People who don't like cranberries have told me that, so even if you don't, you should still give it a try. If you like to have something besides pie for Thanksgiving, this would be an excellent addition to your dessert table. I've had the recipe long enough that I don't remember where it originated from, but I do know that my version here is half the butter cream sauce of the original, cutting out a lot of fat and calories that it really didn't need. It's very moist and good topped with whipped cream.


Cranberry Bundt Cake with Butter Cream Sauce
serves 16

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained

Butter Cream Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half & half


Preheat oven to 350. Combine and sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, oil, almond extract and sour cream until smooth. The sour cream will form lumps at first, but keep whisking and it will smooth out. Pour liquid ingredients into flour mixture and mix on low until all flour is completely incorporated. Fold in the cranberries.

Pour cake batter into a well-greased Bundt pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While cake is baking, prepare butter cream sauce by melting the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in sugar until combined, and then stir in the half & half. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat once it boils. When cake is done and still hot, pour 1/3 of butter cream mixture over the cake in the pan and allow it to set for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, invert cake onto a serving plate and slowly spoon the rest of the butter cream sauce over the cake so it can absorb into the cake. Cool before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins



I have a delicious little muffin recipe for you today, put together by yours truly.

Mia needed some muffins for a school thing, so I whipped these up the night before. Let's call them Cinnamon Sugar Muffins.

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
 makes 10 regular size muffins

1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk

1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg

Topping:
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 10 cups of a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Stir melted butter and sugar together until combined. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Stir in milk. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and nutmeg together. Add all at once to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into the paper-lined muffin cups, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tops of the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 15-16 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched lightly with a finger. Remove muffins to a cooling rack.