Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turkey Tuesdays

Maple Basted Turkey with Cranberry Pan Gravy

This month, I had the pleasure of working with Allrecipes and Butterball.  Our assignment was to prepare a recipe from the Butterball Collection on Allrecipes every Tuesday in September. My first thought was "EVERY Tuesday?" Ugh! That's a lot of turkey in one month.

When I thought of turkey, I thought of either a whole turkey dinner (as in Thanksgiving), sliced deli turkey on a sandwich, or ground turkey in the place of ground beef in a recipe. Really, those were the only ways that I had eaten turkey before. Well, my thinking on turkey has changed!

 Butterball has so many different turkey products on the market. You can check out all of them here and then click on "products".  There is also a product locator on their website, which came in handy when I was looking for what I needed to make the recipes that I chose.

I have to say, my family thoroughly enjoyed Turkey Tuesdays! Each recipe was so different from the next, and made me realize that turkey is as versatile as chicken or beef! We don't have to wait for once or twice a year to enjoy turkey.  Here are the recipes that I prepared:

Turkey Tuesday #1 - Grilled Turkey Cuban Sandwiches
My first time making a Cuban Sandwich - and it will not be my last! They were Dee-licious!

 Turkey Tuesday #2 - Mediterranean Turkey Pasta Salad
I actually used the left overs from the turkey breast that I had grilled to make the Cuban Sandwiches the week before. Just diced it up, threw it in a zip-loc bag and into the freezer, which made making this recipe quick & easy.

 Turkey Tuesday #3 - Turkey Bacon Breakfast Burritos
This was breakfast for dinner last week (or "Brinner" as some say). I loved it so much, I had one for lunch the next day too!

Turkey Tuesday #4 - Maple Basted Roast Turkey with Cranberry Pan Gravy
While I didn't make the cranberry pan gravy in the recipe - the roast turkey was awesome! People roast whole chickens all of the time throughout the year - why not a small turkey? Mine was a 9 pounder, perfect size for my family, with only a few leftovers for the next day!

If you think about turkey the way that I did, I hope that you will re-think your thinking and give some of these recipes a try!  Just remember:

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One of My Favorite Salads!

So, I had some left over bison bacon that I had cooked up while making the recipe in my previous post. I knew I had to put it to good use, because it was GOOD stuff!

I opened the fridge, and a bag of spinach was sitting there in front of my face. One that I had bought with the intentions of making those green breakfast smoothies that everyone seems to be making these days. Well, that obviously didn't happen! Out of the fridge it came . . . and it was going to become Monday night's dinner instead of a smoothie!

This is one of my favorite salads. It is so delicious! It's elegant enough to serve to company (and we have), yet easy enough for a quick weeknight main dish salad, served with some nice crusty bread.  I hope that you enjoy this salad as much as my family does!

Spinach Salad with Warm Vinegar Dressing
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 - 9oz bag of spinach
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
4 hard boiled eggs, choppped
1-1/3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
8 slices of crisp bacon, crumbled

  1. In a small saucepan, heat vinegars, wine, sugar and oil over medium heat until hot and sugar is dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and crushed garlic until combined. Add the entire bag of spinach and toss spinach to lightly coat. Divide the spinach among 4 serving plates.
  3. Top each salad with 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 of the chopped eggs, and 1/4 of the crumbled bacon.
  4. Drizzle each salad with 2-3 Tblsp. of the warm vinegar dressing and serve immediately.
** Store remaining vinegar dressing in the refrigerator **

Buon Appetito!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Not Just Bacon . . . BISON Bacon!

Risotto with Asparagus and Bison Bacon
Have you ever eaten bison?

I've only eaten bison once before in my life. There was a group of ladies that lived on my street, and once a month we used to have a "ladies night out".  We would all put our restaurant suggestions on a piece of paper and then pick one to see where we were going that night. On one of those adventures, we ended up at a Ted's Montana Grill, where I had my first taste of bison. I remember it as one of the best burgers I have ever had.

This month, Allrecipes teamed up with The Bison Council.

I had a few questions, so I got busy checking out their website so that I could educate myself on this meat that I knew very little about. Here are a few things that I found interesting:
  1. A bison is a buffalo. (Ok - whew . . . that's what I thought, but I wasn't exactly sure!)
  2. Bison is a very lean meat, and contains less cholesterol than chicken!
  3. Bison should be cooked at lower temperatures than beef, and will cook in about 1/3 of the time of beef.
  4. Lean bison cuts (except ground) are considered a Weight Watcher's power food.
 Now onto the recipe . . .

 Here's everything that you'll need.

Roast asparagus at 400 degrees until crisp/tender. Cool and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, and set aside. I cooked up the entire pound, as long as I had the oven on.

Cook the bison bacon until it starts to carmelize, then set aside. Again, I cooked up the entire 10oz. package - even though I only used 1/4 of it in my risotto.

Get your chicken broth nice and hot, and keep it over a low flame.

Cook your onions in the butter until translucent.

Add the Arborio rice and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 ladle of broth and cook, stirring, until broth has been absorbed.

This is how it will look when the broth is absorbed. Time to add another ladle of broth!

Continue cooking, stirring, adding 1 ladle of broth at a time, letting the rice absorb all of the broth before adding another ladle.

Making risotto is a labor of love. It takes time, and patience. But it is so worth it! Just look at how creamy it is.

The only way to tell if it is done, is by TASTING IT!

When your risotto is done, add the grated cheese (I used Grana Padano®).

Stir in the pepper, asparagus and bison bacon and serve immediately.

Risotto with Asparagus and Bison Bacon
adapted from HERE

1/2 pound asparagus (trimmed)
1 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp Butter
1 medium onion (diced)
1-1/3 cups Arborio rice
6-1/2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed)
2.5 ounces bison bacon
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup Grana Padano® or Parmigiano Reggiano® (grated)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread asparagus out in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast asparagus for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp/tender (depending on the thickness of your asparagus spears. Let cool and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cut bison bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in large pan and cook over medium heat until it starts to carmelize (because it is very lean, it will not crisp up like regular bacon). Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Place the chicken broth in a pot on the stove and heat until hot. Reduce heat to low and keep hot.
  4. Melt butter in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat (I use the same pan that I cooked the bacon in), add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Add rice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add 1 ladle of chicken broth to the the rice mixture. Stir constantly until all of the broth is absorbed. Continue adding 1 ladle of broth at a time, stirring constantly, letting the rice absorb the broth before adding the next ladle. This will take about 40 - 45 minutes, and the only way to tell if it is done is by tasting it. It should still have some "bite" to it, but not stick in your teeth. You may need to add more broth until your risotto achieves the desired "bite".
  6. When the risotto is done, stir in pepper, asparagus, bison bacon and grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Buon Appetito!