Creative Holiday Roast Ideas

3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey
By Frank Flohr

Deep-Fryed Turkey

3 gallons peanut oil for frying, or as needed

1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

1/4 cup Creole seasoning

1 white onion

In a large stockpot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F. Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill over.

***** Side Note *****

How to determine the amount of oil you need:

The easiest way I've found to determine the amount of oil you need is to place the turkey into the fryer and fill with water until the turkey is just covered. Remove turkey and allow to drain, pat dry with paper towels as well. Make note of the level of water in the fryer. Discard water and dry throughly. Fill frying vessel with oil to the level as noted above. This should help in preventing hot oil spill overs.

***** End Side Note *****

Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags. Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird. Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F, and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F.

Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.

Grilled Whole Turkey

12 pounds whole turkey

2 cups water

3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Place turkey breast side down on the prepared grill. Sear turkey on both sides until skin is golden to dark brown. In a large roasting pan, mix together the water, bouillon powder, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, and paprika. Place turkey breast side down in the roasting pan. Scoop the pan mixture over the turkey. Cover tightly with foil and place on grill. Grill 3 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180F. Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Smoked Turkey

1 turkey 8 to 22 lbs., fresh or completely thawed

Sweet Pickle Brine (recipe to follow)

Maple syrup

Sweet Pickle Brine:

1 gal. water

2 1/2 cups salt, rock, pickling or canning salts are recommened

1/3 cup of light brown sugar

1 tablespoon Lquid garlic

1 oz. pickling spices

Mix well. You may need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your bird. This recipe should suit you fine for an 8 to 12 lb. turkey.

Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water, drain and pat dry. Prepare sweet pickle brine. Brine turkey according to the following schedule, 8 to 12 lb. bird 3 days, 13 to 16 lb. bird 4 days, 17 to 22 lb. bird 5 days. Remove from brine; rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Allow to dry in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Lock wings behind back and tie legs and tail together. Baste turkey with maple syrup before putting in smoker and every 2 hours while smoking. Position turkey on cooking grill. Smoke cook until done.

The best way to determine doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey (the breast) the internal temperature should read 180 degrees F.

Smoking food is more an art than a science; this recipe is not intended for the novice. Allot of factors go into determining the cooking time for a particular food when smoking.

Cool turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving to enhance the smoked flavor. You may serve the turkey right away if you wish.

About The Author
Chef Phronc Frank Flohr (aka Chef Phronc) is passionate about cooking. Frank serves up a full plater of cooking tips, recipes and culimary information on his blog at Unleash the hidden "Chef" inside you!

Wild Rice Turkey Stuffing Recipe With Hazelnuts and Dried Cranberries

Mary Risley, the director of Tante Marie's Cooking School, says, "I come from a family of Connecticut Yankees, and when I was growing up, I spent every Thanksgiving at my grandparents' eighteenth-century home, which was right across from a turkey farm. I’m not quite sure how, but something in that experience inspired this recipe. (Maybe the ingredients reflect what a turkey would like to eat, if asked.)"

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 2 large onions, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 6 3/4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth 2 cups wild rice (about 13 ounces) 2 cups long-grain brown rice 2 cups dried cranberries 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped 1 cup chopped green onions

For this turkey stuffing recipe you should melt 1/2 cup butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add wild rice. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Mix in brown rice; cover and simmer until rice is just tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes longer. Stir cranberries, parsley and thyme into rice. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Mix in hazelnuts and green onions. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Turkey Stuffing Recipe - To bake stuffing in turkey: Loosely fill main cavity with stuffing. Butter ceramic baking dish. Spoon remaining stuffing into prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down. Bake stuffing in dish alongside turkey until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Turkey Stuffing Recipe - To bake all of stuffing in baking dish: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15x10x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish. Cover dish with buttered foil, buttered side down; bake stuffing until heated through, about 40 minutes.

This turkey stuffing recipe makes 12 to 16 servings.

Savory Herb and Sausage Turkey Stuffing Recipe with Tangy Granny Smith Apples Prep/Cook: 30 min. Bake: 45 min. Makes: 10 cups 11 tbsp. butter 2 medium Granny Smith apples, coarsely chopped 3/4 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage, casing removed 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness™ or Certified Organic) 1 bag (16 oz.) Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing 2 cups Pepperidge Farm® Seasoned Croutons 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage leaves 1 egg, beaten 1. Coat 3-qt. casserole with 1 tbsp. butter and set aside. 2. Cook and stir apples in 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 min. or until browned. Pour apples into large bowl and set aside. 3. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and celery. Cook until well browned, stirring frequently to break up meat. Add broth and remaining butter. Heat to a boil. 4. Add stuffing, croutons, sage and egg to apples. Pour broth mixture over apple mixture and stir lightly to coat. Season to taste. 5. Spoon stuffing into prepared dish and cover. 6. Bake at 350ºF. for 45 min. or until hot.

Serve A Turducken And Delight Your Guests

Each year at Thanksgiving, my family discusses what we will make for Thanksgiving dinner. Some of us are traditionalists, who shudder at the thought of anything but turkey with all the trimmings. Others are more adventurous -- especially me, since I did not grow up in the United States and I am not beholden to memories of Thanksgiving Past. I am always ready to try something new, and I believe (much to the fury of the traditionalists) that Thanksgiving is a great time to experiment with the menu.

And so it came to pass, last year, that I won the fight about the Thanksgiving menu, and, with the reluctant approval of the traditional family members, was given a free rein in the kitchen. And that's how the "turducken" Thanksgiving began.

What's a "turducken" you say? It was quite a task but well worth the trouble. I started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by purchasing a 12 pound organic turkey, a 6 pound duck and a 3 pound fresh chicken. I carefully boned each one leaving their structure intact. You must cut carefully, especially the turkey, if it is to look natural.

I made a stuffing from the giblets of all three, adding some sage, thyme, dried apricots, and Grand Marnier. I had a little Grand Marnier too... (not recommended if you're under 21!). The first thing you do is lay the turkey out, skin-side down, open. You then put down an even layer of the stuffing, careful to not go too close to the edges. Next, you lay open the duck skin-side down right on top of the layer of stuffing. It is smaller so you can put a good layer of stuffing on it. Simply repeat the process with the chicken.

Now, the tricky part... You carefully wrap the turkey back up into its original shape, tying the drumsticks, breast, and rear together. You cover it and bake it slow and low until the innermost temperature is 165F. Be sure to baste often and remove fat as well. The duck is quite fatty. Leave it covered until the last half hour or so. You can remove the foil and it will turn a nice golden brown. Let it rest for a half hour before carving. You may want to rest a little bit yourself, also.

The big surprise comes at the table when you proudly stand to carve the 'turkey.' Using a serrated knife you slice through it like a loaf of bread. Your guests gasp, wondering what has happened. What is this thing laid before them? Then, they are treated to a meal that they have never imagined before, and a new Thanksgiving memory that will last a lifetime. (And maybe become a tradition of its own!)

Neil Street penned this article on behalf of his friends at The Cantering Caterer, a catering company in Westport, CT., who first suggested the Turducken idea. When he is not cooking, Neil Street is co-publisher of Small Business Online, an internet marketing resource.

Roasting Tips for a Moist and Tasty Turkey

There are many methods used to cook a moist and tasty Roasted Turkey. Most methods rely on basting. The turkey can be basted every 30 minutes with a basting bulb, or covered with cheesecloth soaked in butter. Other methods include brining the turkey (soaking in a salt water solution for 8-10 hours), or injecting a basting solution into the meat. Whatever method you prefer, proper roasting is key to tender moist meat. Completely thaw the turkey. Start early and thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or in a place where the air temperature is no higher than 40 degrees. A 20-pound turkey takes about two or three days to thaw completely. Be sure the turkey is thawed completely, until no ice appears in the inner cavity and the meat is soft. Be careful: If the inner cavity is still frozen or even partially frozen when you put the turkey in the oven, the outside of the bird will be done before the inside, and the inside temperature will not be hot enough to destroy disease-causing bacteria, or if it is the outside meat will be dried out before the center is done.

Remove the neck and giblets from the cavities. If this is your first time cooking the turkey, be sure that both cavities are emptied. Reserve the neck and giblets for use in preparing the giblet gravy, if desired.

Prepare the stuffing. If you are preparing the stuffing early, mix only the dry ingredients. It is recommended that you cook the stuffing separately, but if you do stuff the turkey, do not stuff it until you are ready to roast it. Stuff the cavity loosely. Do not pack it. If you choose to cook the stuffing separately, you can place a quartered onion and some celery leave and other desired herbs in the cavity for flavor.

Prepare a basting sauce. I prefer to baste with melted butter to which I add fresh or dried herbs. You can also baste with a mixture of wine and butter. Baste the turkey with your sauce and place a loose tent of aluminum foil over the turkey to prevent the skin from burning before the turkey is cooked. This tent will be removed during the last 45 minutes or so of cooking. If you are using cheesecloth, soak the cheesecloth with the basting sauce and place over the breast and drape onto the thighs. When using cheesecloth, you do not need the foil tent. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes during roasting.

Roast your turkey at 325 degrees for the recommended time for the weight of your turkey. These times are approximate and should be confirmed with a meat thermometer. Be sure to check the thermometer about 3/4th of the way through the time indicated so as not to overcook. Dry meat will result if the turkey is overcooked. The following table gives approximate times for roasting turkey at 325 degrees F.

Estimated Cooking Times

Wt. of Turkey Unstuffed Stuffed

10-18 lbs 3- 3 1/2 hrs. 4 - 4 1/2 hrs

18-22 lbs 3 1/2 - 4 hrs 4 1/2 - 5 hrs.

22-24 lbs 4- 4 1/2 hrs 5 – 5 1/2 hrs

24-29 lbs 4 1/2- 5 hrs 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 hrs

The turkey must be roasted all at once. You cannot partially cook it ahead for later finishing. This method has been shown to increase the chances of food borne illnesses.

For safety and doneness the internal temperature must reach 180 degrees F in the thigh and 170 in the center of the breast. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165 degrees F in the cavity. This temperature is essential to prevent food borne disease, and should be measured with a meat thermometer. The pop-up thermometer that comes in many turkeys serves as a good approximate of doneness, but should not be relied on as the ultimate authority. When placing the meat thermometer in the thigh or breast, it is important not to touch the bone. The bone conducts heat and will be hotter than the meat. Do not allow the cooked meat to come into contact with anything that has touched the raw turkey.

During the last 30 - 45 minutes of cooking, remove the foil tent to encourage browning. If you desire to use a glaze, spread it over the turkey now with a pastry brush.

After dinner, separate the stuffing from the turkey and refrigerate leftovers immediately. Within a few hours bacterial will begin to grow causing disease if the meat is not quickly cooled. Large chunks of meat will cool slowly, and therefore should be refrigerated immediately to begin the cooling process. Meat, stuffing, and gravy can also be cooled, then frozen for future use.

Luke warm leftovers allow bacterial growth. Food eaten cold will not have the opportunity for further growth, however when heating leftover, they should be heated to at least 165 to kill bacteria.

Cooking With Tea Gives Holiday Recipes A Healthful Boost
By Terry Calamito

It’s no secret that tea is good for you. It provides antioxidants [which prevent damage to cell tissues], has less caffeine than coffee, and calms the soul. What easier way to reap its benefits than by adding some to your cuisine, especially during the hectic holidays?

Incorporating tea into your cooking is easy, and you don’t have to know a lot to start experimenting. The quickest way to get started is to grab a few teabags and throw them in the water when steaming vegetables, according to Ying Chang Compestine, author of *Cooking With Green Tea* (Avery/Penguin Putnam, 2000). “Infusing vegetables this way adds a delicate flavor to the food. The ones I like to use are Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea, or Lemon Ginger Green Tea,” she says.

“It’s also very easy to use tea as a spice when stir frying,” says Ying. When using tea in this way, you add the dry tea leaves to the heated oil as you would any other spice or seasoning. “I have all kinds of tea next to my spice rack. For chicken or fish I use green or white tea. It just depends on what I’m cooking,” she adds.

Most people have teabags in their cupboards, but may not have full leaf teas. “Don’t worry about getting loose tea or knowing about loose teas,” Ying advises. “For most cooking, bag tea is much easier. Just snip the teabag open and use the tea.”

“One thing I love to do is to cook rice with jasmine green tea,” says Donna Fellman, Director of the Tea Education Alliance and author of *Tea Here Now* (Inner Ocean Publishing, 2005) “For a heartier, savory meal use oolong [a tea that is considered in between green and black] to make your rice. It’s lovely.”

To prepare rice this way, start by making the tea. Donna recommends using loose tea leaves for this recipe. Put a teaspoon or two of leaves per cup of water in a teapot or other vessel. Heat the water to almost boiling and pour over the leaves. Steep about three minutes. Remove the spent leaves and set aside to use again later. Bring the brewed tea to a boil and add the rice. Turn down to a simmer and look forward to the delicate aroma that will soon fill your kitchen.

It’s important not to over brew tea whether you intend to use it in a recipe or drink it. Making tea stronger is not a result of longer steeping. “Any kind of tea is going to get bitter if you over brew it,” says Lenny Martinelli, Owner and Executive Chef of the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House in Colorado. “When I cook with tea I make the brew stronger by adding more tea to it.”

Consider serving chai during holiday meals, which naturally lends itself to the season with its cinnamon and clove.

The adventurous cook can experiment by combining tea leaves with other vegetables as Lenny does in his potstickers [a type of Chinese dumpling]. “I put some green tea leaves in the filling, maybe with some spinach.” For a tea-inspired holiday recipe, he creates a chicken rub with spiced black tea, cumin, coriander and cinnamon. “A nice holiday roasted chicken with dried fruit sauce, de-glazing the pan with orange juice and letting the tea and spices come out.” He adds, “I think sometimes people expect too much from the tea leaf when they cook with tea. You’re not trying to make a full tea flavor. It’s important to treat it like an ingredient. Just play with it.”

What about dessert?

Teas flavored with jasmine, rose, lemon or fruit are used to make cookies, pudding, ice cream, cake, smoothies and shakes. Try Ying's quick green tea ice cream: Stir 1/2 teaspoon of matcha [Japanese powdered green tea] into 1 cup of softened vanilla ice cream and refreeze it. How easy is that?

In the end there is nothing like taking time out for yourself so that you can enjoy the holidays. “Make sure that while you’re busy preparing delightful holiday food that you take time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea,” says Donna. “You will get more of tea’s health giving and soul nurturing properties. The tea will prepare you to cook in a mindful way and will infuse your food with that calmness, which gets passed along to your family and guests.”

Ying Chang Compestine is spokesperson for Celestial Seasonings. More information about her and her books is available at Donna Fellman and Bodhidharma Tea Company can be reached at 303-402-9576. Lenny Martinelli’s cooking classes and other tea events are listed at

Freelance writer and Tea Promoter Terry Calamito publishes the free weekly ezine "Start Sipping." If you’re a tea lover or just want to find out about tea’s health benefits and maybe slow down a little to have a cup, subscribe for free at

Roast Beef Dinner Recipe

A wonderful recipe for coming home Celebrations, this is definitely a sit down family dinner, one that invites conversation at the dinner table. The aroma's that bring back so many memories fill the house!


3 pound beef bottom roast

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

3 cups baby carrots

1 large can whole mushrooms 10-16 oz

1 large yellow onion chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 package brown gravy mix

1/4 cup flour

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Coat the beef with flour and cook in the oil about 5 minutes on each side to lightly brown, then place the carrots, mushrooms and onions in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the beef on top of the vegetables. Mix 12 ounces of water with gravy mix and pour over beef. Cover and cook on low heat 8 to ten hours or until beef and vegetables are done and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with mashed potatoes, this roast gives you the perfect gravy to top the potatoes, and a variety of vegetables, salad and rolls with real butter.

Honey-Glazed Ham

by Michelle Jones,

This is one way to make a simple honey glazed ham, it's delicious!

1 fully cooked ham
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2-3 Tbs. honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Score top of ham with sharp knife, in a criss-cross pattern. Cuts should be about a ½ inch deep. Place ham on a rack in a shallow baking pan, and cook for about 20 minutes per pound. Mix sugar and honey into a paste and brush on the top and sides of ham during the last hour of baking, repeating every 20 minutes. The ham is already pre-cooked, but baking it like this will make it really good!

Vegetarian Holiday Roast

Yield: 12 Servings



Cook the lentils millet and brown rice separately; and reserve two cups of the lentil liquor for making Mushroom Gravy. If you are using whole chestnuts preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the nuts and cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep in the small pointed ends. Place the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes then cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the shells and cut the nuts in quarters. Mix the cooked grains and lentils with the nuts bread crumbs and almond butter in a large bowl and set aside. Saute the onions briefly in olive oil then add the garlic sage celery seed rosemary salt and seitan if used. Saute 2 to 3 minutes longer stirring constantly then add to the other ingredients mix thoroughly (mooshing with fingers works best) and put into a large oiled baking dish. Lightly coat the top of the roast with olive oil then bake at 350 degrees F for 1-1/4 hours. Serve with Mushroom Gravy (below) and garnish with parsley. MUSHROOM GRAVY: Separate the mushroom caps from the stems then quarter the caps and halve the stems. Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute then stir in the oregano and add the mushrooms. Cook stirring constantly until the mushrooms have softened and the bottom of the pan is covered with liquid. Set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat then stir in the flour and cook stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lentil liquor and water and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and barely begins to boil. Add the mushroom mixture salt and pepper and continue stirring until the gravy begins to boil. Remove from heat and serve. * Source: Brigitte Mars in The Herb Companion October/November 1993 *

Baked Ham with Waldorf Sauce

This sauce has all the flavors from the famous Waldorf apple salad. Serve with a mixed greens salad and glazed carrots.

4-pound fully-cooked smoked boneless ham
2 cups apple juice or apple cider
2 inches stick cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup chopped apple
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
  1. Place ham on rack in shallow roasting pan. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for about 1-1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan combine apple juice and cinnamon; bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon. In a skillet cook celery in butter until tender but not brown. Stir in apple juice, chopped apple, walnuts, raisins and brown sugar; cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water; stir into the apple mixture. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve with ham.

Makes 16 servings.

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