Plan a Dinner with some Friends

Dec 2, 2013 by

I hope your Thanksgiving was awesome.  I hope you gathered with family and friends and ate way too much great food.  I also hope you paused at sometime during the meal to think how much fun it was and maybe even wondered why you don’t do this more often than just once a year.

Here is now your chance.

Plan a dinner with some friends this week.  Pick a few friends out and send them an email or text and pick out a night that works for everyone.  Then divvy up the meal so not one person is doing all the work.  Make something awesome to eat.  This is especially easy to do around the holidays as you can make it a festive themed event and make some tasty food and drinks like this Puerto Rican Eggnog (*Caution: Adults Only).

Have everyone show up at the designated houses.  Put some good music on, put the cell phones away and enjoy each others company and some good food and drink.  Tell stories of what happening in your life.  Discuss interesting things you saw that day.  Talk about the challenges you are going through and ask for some opinions and advice.

The bottom line is to share yourself and your time and some good food with others.

We had a great thanksgiving but one of our friends was sick and sadly couldn’t make it, so in the spirit of more great leftovers we are going to do a Thanksgiving 2.0 soon for her.  Beyond the great food, its just another great excuse to get together.

Your TSA for this week is to plan a meal with friends this week.  Then do it again next week.  Watch this turn into a fun new event you look forward to all week.  Invite some new friends and neighbors and watch it grow into a new tradition.

Ben…

TSA = Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s: 

 

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THIS is how you cook a turkey

Nov 20, 2012 by

If you are cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving this year and are looking for a fail proof method for a super tasty turkey, this is it.

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Look at that bird!  It was tasty.  Very tasty.  And very easy to cook.

We had an extra turkey in our freezer and wanted to cook it a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I would document the process for all those in charge of cooking the bird this Thanksgiving.  And the time to start this process is NOW, because you have to soak the turkey in a brine.  Here’s what you’ll need to do it.

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First, you need a clean bucket.  Got this one from Home Depot as you can obviously see.

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Clean it out and throw the turkey in.  Then pour in 1 bottle of red wine, pick your favorite kind.  That is where you get the lovely purple color.  Also chop up one onion and several stalks of celery and throw those in.  Then add a couple of cups of course rock salt.  You can use kosher salt if you have that.  Then fill up the bucket with water to cover the turkey.  That’s it.  Throw it in the fridge and let it soak for a day or two.

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When you get it out of the brine, your turkey will be bright purple.  DON’T FREAK OUT.  It’s OK, it will not be purple when you are done cooking it.

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Now when you are ready to cook it we need to prep the bird.  This is very easy.  You will need 2 sticks of butter, softened, and a package of bacon.  You can now start to see why this recipe is so awesome.  What is better than butter and bacon?

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Slice up the bacon into 1 inch chunks

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Mix it up in the butter

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The key of this turkey recipe is to get all of that awesome buttery-bacon goodness under the skin.  This part is a little gross, but it is easy.  Wash your hands and dive in.  Lift up the skin and run your hands carefully under the skin separating it from the bird but be careful not to rip or tear it if possible.   Get all the way in there as far as you can.

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Stuff the butter bacon mixture into all the nooks and crannies under the skin.  Then pin down the back of the skin with a toothpick or two to keep all t hat good stuff in there.

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Rub your hands an any excess butter all over the outside of the bird and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

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Here is the next trick.  Flip the bird over so the breasts are facing down.   That is how you will be cooking it for first part.

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If you have a big BBQ, this is how I like to cook my turkeys.  If you don’t, you can use an oven.  Just follow the directions on the turkey.  Here is how I do it.  Get the BBQ hot.  All burners on high.  When it is hot, throw the bird in and turn down all the middle burners to low and keep the outer burners to medium.  You want indirect heat here, which means you don’t want the heat to be directly below the turkey.

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Throw in some wood chips for good measure.  Also cover the bird with tin foil and let it cook at a medium heat (350ish).  After an hour and a half flip the bird over so breast side is up and finish cooking the rest of the way.  One of the reasons I like cooking in the BBQ this way is it only takes 3 hours to cook a turkey instead of the suggested 4-6 in an oven.  Super moist and super easy.

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Pull the bird out of the BBQ or oven and behold your amazing skills as an expert turkey cooker.  All of the good drippings around the turkey are great for making gravy.

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There you have it.  Very simple, very tasty.

I’ve tried several ways too cook turkey, including the oven, deep frying etc, but the BBQ is my favorite way.  Plus it free’s up your oven to make other holiday dishes.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone and remember to take a moment to pause and be grateful for all that you have and also give back to those who might be in need this year.

Ben…

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A twist on the same old Thanksgiving turkey

Nov 26, 2010 by

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We had a great Thanksgiving this year.  My wife’s family and some friends all went over to my friend Joe’s house.  Since he was doing the turkey, I decided to try something a little different.  I found this recipe in a magazine and gave it a whirl.

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For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 turkey breast halves
  • 3/4 cup butter – softened
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage leaves
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 pkg  12 oz – unseasoned stuffing cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

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First take off the skin and bone out of the turkey breast (if there is a bone)

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Now we need to flatten the breasts to a consistent 3/8 inch

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cover with saran wrap

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and beat to a pulp with a heavy skillet or mallet

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they should look all nice and flat and even now

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Mince up your garlic

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Throw it in with 1/2 cup butter and add the dried sage

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Overlap the turkey breasts on one edge and mix the buttery garlic mixture over both.  Set this aside

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Chop up your onion

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Throw it in a big pan with the rest of the butter

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chop up your celery

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throw that in with the onion

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saute for a minute or so until slightly tender.

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add the poultry seasoning and 3 cups of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes

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add in your stuffing cubes and stir

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spread the stuffing out over the turkey breasts

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Make a good covering, but not too thick.

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roll it up and tie it together every few inches with some string

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Throw that in a large baking dish and throw it into the oven at 325 for 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 hours.

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Take the half cup pineapple juice and the olive oil and mix in a bowl.  Set this aside and baste the turkey every so often with this as it bakes.

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When its done it will look awesome like this

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And it will smell amazing too

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Slice it up and serve.   Everyone loved and devoured this at dinner.

How did your Thanksgiving go?  What great creation did you make?  Share in the comments below

Ben…

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