Tag: Dinner

One Pot Creamy Chicken Tortellini Tomato Soup

One Pot Creamy Chicken Tortellini Tomato Soup

This one pot creamy chicken tortellini tomato soup is easy enough to be a weeknight dinner. I’ve been making big pots of soups and stews to eat for dinner with plenty leftovers to freeze some for when the baby gets here, and this is a 

Traditional Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Traditional Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Traditional versus Low-FODMAP Being from New Orleans, I knew I needed to have a traditional chicken and sausage gumbo on my blog. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know I used to follow a low-FODMAP diet. Gumbo is one of my favorite things 

Dry Brine Turkey Method

Dry Brine Turkey Method

This was a big hit on Instagram so I figured I’d give it a more permanent spot on my website. If you are more of a video person, check out the saved story highlight “Turkey Time” on my home instagram page.

Give More Love To The Bird

How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t care for turkey” in reference to a holiday bird? Or even “the turkey is always dry!” I think holiday turkeys get a lot of hate because people have never had good holiday turkeys. A little TLC is all you need to have really great tender and juicy meat on your table!

After many years of making the Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving turkey, I have honed in on my favorite method: the dry brine, aka “salting.” This is not unique to me and in no way can I claim this method “mine” – but I tell you what, people always complement my turkey. “This is so moist!” I hear. It’s the best compliment (even if you hate that word) is it not?

Dry Brine Ingredients and Needs

A dry brine turkey involves more time, but less space. It involves more salt, but less mess.

What you’ll need:

  • A roasting pan (I use this one – it was a wedding gift!)
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt per 10 pounds of bird, per day. See below to help gauge amount
  • Dried basil, oregano, and thyme
  • Room in your fridge for the roasting pan
  • A turkey, of course!

10 lb or less: 1-2 days of brining, 1/2 cup salt per day (far less if you’re just doing breasts)

10-15 pounds: 2-3 days of brining, 2/3-3/4 cup salt per day

15-20 pounds: 2-3 days of brining, 3/4-1 cup salt per day

20+ pounds: 3 days of brining, 1 cup salt per day

Turkey Tips

You generally want 1 pound of turkey per meat-eating person at your dinner. You know your crowd best though – if you know there will be a lot of food, you can go a little less to save on money.

Turkeys usually come frozen and they take DAYS (literally, days) to defrost! Keep this is mind when you’re planning your schedule – you may want to buy your bird up to a week in advance and let it defrost in the fridge for a while so you have time to give it the brine attention it deserves. You cannot deal with a frozen turkey – you will have a bad time.

Try to get a turkey that is JUST that: turkey. A lot of them come in a brining solution and that’s going to throw off the salt ratios you’re adding in your brine! Just read the ingredients before purchasing.

Step by Step

Step 1: Prep the bird

Remove the packaging, the giblets, and the neck of the turkey (save the giblets and neck if you want them for gravy!). Place your turkey breast side up in the roasting pan.

Step 2: Prep the salt and herbs

Clean your hands and prep the appropriate amount of salt in a bowl (you don’t want to be digging in your salt cellar with turkey hands) and add big dashes of dried thyme, basil, and oregano.

Step 3: Glove up and separate the skin from meat

The most crucial part! Using your hands, start at the neck and separate the skin from the meat all over the turkey as best you can (there are probably YouTube videos out there for this). Getting the salt between the skin and meat is what really makes this method special. We want to penetrate the raw meat, not just the skin.

Step 4: Dry Brine Turkey!

Spread the salty herb mixture all over the bird – on the skin, between the skin and meat, the legs, the thighs, the breasts, even inside the cavity. Get it everywhere. It’s a lot of salt so there is a lot to go around. Use it all!

Step 5: Back in the fridge, uncovered, and repeat each day leading to roasting day

Now, To Roast!

You covered your bird in the salt herb mixture each day, right? You have a dry brine turkey! Now it’s time to roast!

Depending on the size of your turkey, you’re going to need likely several hours to roast + an hour to rest + time to carve and make gravy.

Roasting:

  1. Take the turkey out of the fridge and tuck the wings back.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Fill the cavity with aromatics: half an onion, garlic, celery, rosemary, half a lemon and/or orange (NOT with stuffing, please. It’s too hard to get the stuffing properly cooked to temperature without overcooking your meat. No one wants bloody stuffing. Or mushy stuffing. Just do that separately).
  4. Slice up a whole stick of butter and slide it between the skin and meat all over. Put a few pieces on top of the skin as well. Cover the bird in olive oil.
  5. Place it in your hot oven and roast it on the high temp for 20 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 and set a 45 minute timer.
  6. Every 45 minutes: remove the turkey and shut the oven door. Baste the turkey all over with the drippings. If there aren’t a lot of drippings, just add about 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the pan, stir it about, and use that.
  7. Rotate the pan and back in the oven another 45 minutes. Repeat that process until the internal temperature comes to 165 degrees F all over – in the deepest parts of the breasts, the thighs, the joints, etc. Use your own instant read thermometer! The pop tab on the turkey is useless.
  8. Once it’s fully cooked, remove and let it rest an hour.
  9. Carve it up and ENJOY!

Try these sides with your turkey:

Pesto Ricotta Pappardelle

Pesto Ricotta Pappardelle

This pesto ricotta pappardelle was one of the best dinners I have made in a long time, so I had to put it on the site as soon as possible as to remember what I did. I took a class with Meryl from Pasta Social 

Carnitas Inspired Pork Roast

Carnitas Inspired Pork Roast

We used to (pre-COVID) spend most of our New Year’s Eve holidays at a rented cabin with a whole lot of friends. Generally a few people would sign up to cook for everyone each night. The year we rang in 2018, my friend Sara made 

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Though I live in Nashville now, I am originally from New Orleans. I grew up eating the BEST food ever – we are so spoiled there! All of my family members are great cooks (some of them professional chefs). In New Orleans, you eat Red Beans and Rice on Mondays. It’s a staple. It’s a necessity!

Back in the old days, Monday was laundry day in New Orleans. Laundry took a while back then – and was a lot more hands on, of course. Red beans and rice takes a long time to cook, so the women would start their big pot of beans before starting the laundry. By the time they were done, dinner was ready!

I do not eat onions or garlic, so my red beans and rice recipe does not call for them. These two items are STAPLES in New Orleans cooking, so I’ve had to find ways around this obstacle. I’ve made notes for how to add them in.

This isn’t exactly a weeknight recipe – it takes a while. It isn’t very hands on, but it does require several hours of cooking recipes. There are plenty of good quicker recipes for the Instant Pot on Pinterest!

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried red beans (Camellia brand is best, but hard to find outside of New Orleans)
  • Roughly 1 pound ham hock (aka “seasoning meat”)
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, finely diced*
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce of choice (I am a Crystal fan, my husband a Louisiana)
  • 1 pound andouille sausage
  • Secret ingredient: 1 stick salted butter
  • To serve: cooked rice, diced fresh parsley
  • Optional: crispy sauteed fresh okra!

*If you can eat onions and garlic, I highly suggest adding a cup of diced sweet onion and 3-4 minced garlic cloves in with the vegetables!

Instructions:

  1. Cover your red beans in water and soak overnight – at least 8 hours, but up to 24.
  2. Drain and rinse your beans. Set aside.
  3. Brown the ham hock in a large dutch oven or pot on the stock on medium heat.
  4. Add in the vegetables and saute until softened – 5-10 minutes.
  5. Stir the beans, water, spices, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Stir well. Bring to a boil and cover. Let it go for 20 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low, stir, and cover again. Allow the beans to cook for 2-3 hours (the longer, the better!)
  7. Once your beans are soft, take a potato masher and mash them all up. This will make them creamy and indicative of New Orleans style. We don’t need to see any individual beans hanging out!
  8. Dice up 2/3 of your andouille and brown it in a separate cast iron pan. Stir that into the red beans. Slice the last 1/3 of the andouille into thick slices and brown them – these you’ll serve on top!
  9. The crucial secret ingredient: stir in one whole stick of salted butter until it is melted. This is the absolute best part!
  10. Serve over rice with the thick andouille slices and fresh parsley and enjoy.
New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

A NOLA classic, done the classic way. This time without onions and garlic, but there are notes on how to add them in!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Cajun, Creole, New Orleans
Keyword: Beans, Cajun, New Orleans, Rice
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • 1 pound ham hock aka "seasoning meat"
  • 1 cup celery finely diced
  • 1 cup bell peppers finely diced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce Crystal, Louisiana, or Tabasco!
  • 1 pound cajun andouille sausage
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • Cooked rice, fresh parsley to serve
  • Crispy okra, optional

Instructions

  • Cover your red beans in water and soak overnight – at least 8 hours, but up to 24.
  • Drain and rinse your beans. Set aside.
  • Brown the ham hock in a large dutch oven or pot on the stock on medium heat.
  • Add in the vegetables and saute until softened – 5-10 minutes.
  • Stir the beans, water, spices, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Stir well. Bring to a boil and cover. Let it go for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low, stir, and cover again. Allow the beans to cook for 2-3 hours (the longer, the better!)
  • Once your beans are soft, take a potato masher and mash them all up. This will make them creamy and indicative of New Orleans style. We don’t need to see any individual beans hanging out!
  • Dice up 2/3 of your andouille and brown it in a separate cast iron pan. Stir that into the red beans. Slice the last 1/3 of the andouille into thick slices and brown them – these you’ll serve on top!
  • The crucial secret ingredient: stir in one whole stick of salted butter until it is melted. This is the absolute best.
  • Serve over rice with the thick andouille slices and fresh parsley and enjoy.

Greek Meatball Salads

Greek Meatball Salads

These Greek meatball salads are inspired by Cava. We really like to order delivery from Cava any time I don’t feel like cooking but we want something on the healthier side. It is a Chipotle-esque model (but Mediterranean) where you pick from a long list 

Corn Risotto and Scallops

Corn Risotto and Scallops

Fresh corn in the summer is one of my favorite vegetables. Fresh herbs on top of creamy rice is also one of my favorites. This corn risotto combines the two and it’s amazing. I paired it with seared wild scallops for the perfect summer dinner. 

Tomato Soup with Homemade Gnocchi

Tomato Soup with Homemade Gnocchi

Another pantry staple meal! I had never made homemade gnocchi and I’m amazed it’s so simple. I followed @pastasocialclub recipe on their website and ate it with this tomato soup I made up on the fly.

Gnocchi is made with very minimal ingredients that you might have around during this quarantine time – flour, one big potato, egg, parmesan, and salt.

The gnocchi recipe can be found on Pasta Social Club’s site. I don’t have a ricer so I used a potato masher and next time I think I’ll try a little harder to really get those lumps out!

Tomato Soup:

  • ⁣1 bell pepper (or onion), diced⁣
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes (I used whole tomatoes, but if you only have crushed or puree that’ll work too!)⁣
  • 1 cup broth (bone broth, veggie broth, water, whatever you have!)⁣
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh herbs like thyme, basil, or oregano. If you don’t have these around, use dried herbs! About 1/2-1 tsp of each above if you have it.⁣
  • salt and pepper⁣
  • 1/4 c cream (or milk, coconut milk, half n half, whatever you got)⁣
  • add ins: leftover chicken, greens (I used kale)⁣⁣

Saute the bell pepper or onion until soft in some olive oil. Pour in the tomatoes and the broth. Blend with an immersion (stick) blender or carefully in a blender. Bring to a low simmer and add in the herbs and salt/pepper. Cover and turn down to low. Cook for an hour or longer. Remove the lid, bring the heat up to medium and cook until thickens – maybe 30 min. Stir in the cream and the add-ins. Serve with the gnocchi!

Tomato Soup with Homemade Gnocchi

The gnocchi recipe is from Pasta Social Club, but this soup pairs so well with it!
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Low-FODMAP, Soup, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 bell pepper, diced or onion
  • 28 oz san marzano tomatoes or crushed
  • 1 cup bone broth or broth of choice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp each herbs like basil, thyme, oregano
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk, half-n-half, coconut cream
  • add ins: chicken and/or greens optional

Instructions

  • Saute the bell pepper or onion until soft in some olive oil.
  • Pour in the tomatoes and the broth.
  • Blend with an immersion (stick) blender or carefully in a blender.
  • Bring to a low simmer and add in the herbs and salt/pepper.
  • Cover and turn down to low. Cook for an hour or longer.
  • Remove the lid, bring the heat up to medium and cook until thickens – maybe 30 min.
  • Stir in the cream and the add-ins. Serve with the gnocchi!
Pasta Puttanesca (Low-FODMAP)

Pasta Puttanesca (Low-FODMAP)

Anchovies, capers, and olives were three of my least favorite foods growing up. Therefore, pasta puttanesca was off the table. But now I LOVE them, so this dish is one of our favorites! It’s pretty easy to put together and you end up with delicious