Category Archives: Holiday

Twelve Days of Christmas Recipes

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Pull up some cocoa and cue the music maestro!

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For a limited time enjoy the Twelve Days of Christmas at nearly 60% off. Click HERE to grab your copy today!

Through the 12 Days of Christmas, Chef Lilly gives to you…

Twelve Days of Christmas Recipes!

That’s right! Are you ready to sing throughout the holidays with simple, scrumptious real food recipes that will fulfill all of your various food needs for this holiday season?

Let’s face it… the holidays are more than just one big meal on one big day. It is weeks of sparkly, joy-packed fun with plenty of cooking to do’s. In other words, the stress piles on fast for anyone attempting to keep their family organized, healthy and sane through all of the hustle and bustle!
Maybe your Holiday recipe needs look like this… 

For the Book Club party, you need an appetizer that makes the ladies swoon. Oh! And a sassy beverage, too. Right!?

For the kid’s School Party, you want something cute, but wouldn’t it rock if it used a veg or two?

For your Neighborhood Potluck, God love them, but everyone brings a dish laden with grease or sugar. A salad would be lovely, but it must be made ahead, because the party starts at 4pm on a school night.granoladrops

Speaking of sugar, tis’ the season, right? Would love to sit and make sweet treats with the kiddos but it would be fabulous if they were a tiny bit guilt-free. Something that balances the rest of the sugar high of the season. Maybe using unrefined sugars for example? Oh… and simple enough for the kids to actually help, too!

While we are at it, maybe those treats would be fabulous enough to bag up for all of the teachers, friends and sweet people in our lives who need a gift?

After that day of treat making joy, wouldn’t it be nice to sit down to a meal that felt nourishing, rather than the take out pizza which is the only thing you can muster up after the kitchen has been dismantled by the joy of holiday baking?

Of course, there will be traveling to the in-laws this year at some point. A holiday inspired snack that is actually nourishing would be very welcome! Just imagine your sweet ones snacking gleefully on a treat that won’t send them on a sugar crash the moment they see their grandparents.santastrata

Then

 

 

there is Christmas Eve! Just imagine it being crockpot simple with little to no effort. There is so much darn prep required in order to have a relaxing mellow Christmas. How does Santa do it anyways? Oh, that’s right.

I am Santa.

Of course, there has been more than one year when exhausted “Santa” didn’t pull off a Christmas breakfast. In between the madness of unwrapping gifts the kids pretty much survived on treats from their stocking. In your defense, Santa had stuffed an orange in there. What if this year, Christmas Eve dinner is so crockpot easy that making breakfast the night before is also effortless? And… is it too much to ask if it is cute and delightful for my kids also?

Certainly, you can pour over Pinterest investigating and plotting all of the possibilities, but after all that time pinning will you have any time leftover to make any recipes?

My Christmas wish for you is to have more joy in the kitchen and less time agonizing over the pros and cons of each dish. Get INSTANT access to this collection of holiday recipes so that you can take a peek, gather ingredients and get cooking. The eCookbook includes the name semi-famous 3-ingredient Nut Cookies as well! Want the recipe, grab the book! 

The best part is that you can name your own price! With over 28 recipes the suggested price is $28 that is just $1 per recipe, but you are welcome to pay as little as $4 instead. Do what makes sense for you and your budget this time of year!

The more people enjoying these recipes the merrier and brighter it will make me!

Sign up now for the Twelve Days of Christmas Recipes eCookbook! 

 

Let’s Make Your Thanksgiving Beautiful + Simple

IMG_1786 Across the glow of candles, you deeply inhale the aroma of comfort + harvest to see the twinkling faces of your beloved people who have gathered to celebrate this feast of gratitude. As the bowls and platters begin their merry go round the table you feel the spirit of Thanksgiving filling your heart.

Once your plate is properly piled on, you taste the first bites and melt into delight. You made this! You didn’t just reheat it in the oven as so many weeknight dinners seem to be lately, rather this dish was simple, comforting and exactly what you wanted to eat today. As an added bonus, making this dinner was a surprisingly joyful process.

Looking up from that first bite, you notice there is a slight hush with occasional murmurs of glee as everyone else dives into their favorite dish. Once each item has been properly sampled, the lively conversation of your family begins again and you find yourself reflecting on the fact that not all Thanksgivings have felt this blissful.
signupbutton_tealRemember the year you drove five hours for dinner only to be served processed food that tasted blah and made you feel icky afterwards? Had you known, you at least would have brought some real food to contribute.

That time when the entire meal was made safe for your sweet cousin who has so many allergies including peanuts, eggs, dairy and gluten, yet the resulting dinner was rather disappointing. There must be a way to balance the safe foods with the traditional deliciousness.

What about when your aunt brought that bizarre fat free fluffy, orange-colored dessert as a replacement for Pumpkin Pie. Even she was laughing through apologetic tears.

And then there is the loving, but slightly controlling hostess who wants to make it all themselves, to not burden another soul with work, but seems to not realize food can go beyond the can or box to include the actual harvest.

Of course, sometimes you are the solo hostess as everyone travels from out of town. As you find you are doing nearly everything yourself, you barely have time to properly plan with kids home from school on break, work to do and daily life still demanding. When that Thursday arrives suddenly all the cooking happens at the last minute and you were almost too exhausted to eat by dinner time.IMG_2260

Are ready to enjoy the process of cooking, planning and preparing this beautiful dinner?

Do you crave a Thanksgiving that is simplified, delicious and truly celebrates the harvest and everyone gathered?

Let’s chat. You and me, on the phone together to guarantee a meal full of love and real food, rather than stress and less than satisfactory dishes.

I have cooked for all types of dietary needs and challenges for Thanksgiving whether I ate it with them or they served it to their own family. The art of planning the meal in advance or delegating to those gathering is something I have spent years crafting.

It is my immense pleasure to consider all the cravings and food needs of your diners as well as your unique schedule and challenges to assist in creating a Thanksgiving that is special for your family.

IMG_1940Through our 30 minute conversation, I will answer all of your questions as we map out a plan to make this year’s Thanksgiving your favorite. I will also set you up with any recipes we determine you need and we will discuss the timeline for making it realistic and simple.

As an added bonus, you can contact me by email or text during Thanksgiving week. It is like a Butterball Hotline except I will answer questions about real food as I ease your nerves through the planning, shopping, and cooking process.signupbutton_yellow

After you sign up for our call, I will send you a calendar to select the perfect time for us to chat.

I am looking forward to helping make this Thanksgiving a calm, celebratory time of beautiful food and delicious time spent with your loved ones.IMG_0654

Gifts for a bunch of your Lovely Ladies

 

uwladiesGirlfriends.

Whether they are your sister, co-worker, besties from childhood, college or maybe the mommies of your kid’s friends, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time, texts, chit-chats or coffee to share with them. For me, I am blessed with ladies nearby and across the country who have shared important moments in my life, have supported me, laughed, cried and just been their precious selves for me.

More recently, I have had the honor of getting to know a group of gals who are building businesses at all different stages and it has been a blessing to get to know them better. Especially as we all hone in on ways to balance our business life with mamahood as well as our own personal joy.

Slowly, I am coming to understand we are all struggling, while doing our best. We are all facing our own dramas, triumphs, challenges, and successes. Sharing our stories over hot drinks, long walks, good food or pedicures makes all of it that much easier to face or celebrate.

The truth is, try as I might, there are so many lovely ladies in my life that I want to connect to, share and celebrate with. When it comes to the holiday season, there are all sorts of reasons to give each of them something extra special, but I always stress about trying to find them something useful, sweet, or just pretty- even if I know it will be discarded eventually. What I really want to bestow on each of them is a bit more time to relax, a bit less drama to endure, something delicious to savor or simply something beautiful to learn.IMG_8295

When it comes to Lilly’s Table, I like to think it is the perfect gift for the Mama who is ready to embrace the goodness each season has to offer with simple recipes, weekly meal plans and easy to create shopping lists that bring a nourishing beautiful meal to their family. It is the gift that goes beyond the holiday season to serve all of us ladies as we try to juggle and balance it all.

Buying one gift certificate for one friend is always a possibility. But, for a limited time during this holiday season, buy in bulk and save some money!

Buy four gift certificates and receive the fifth gift certificate for FREE!
(you can even use that fifth one for yourself– I won’t tell!) 

Or go even further, buy eight certificates and receive three gift certificates for FREE!

This offer is only valid during the holiday season though, so snatch it up quick! Start buying those gift certificates, then contact me at lilly@lillystable.com and I will hook you up with all of the bonus gift certificates. (If you are buying a ton, let me know as I will sweeten the deal further!) 

Whether you buy your dear friends a gift certificate to Lilly’s Table, a pretty trinket, cup of coffee on your next cafe date, pole dancing lessons, flowers or something as unique as they are to you, I wish each of you a bright + heartfelt holiday season with lots of deliciousness and love flowing your way!
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Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

Customized Just for You Thanksgiving Meal Plans

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Thanksgiving is a fabulous holiday! Every year I push myself to go fancy-schmancier, but in many ways Thanksgiving is a meal I could quite possibly make in my sleep. So why not, let me take my obsession with cooking and planning and LET ME HELP YOU! Yes, I cannot come and actually cook for you (my own family will rebel), but I can hold your hand, give you recipes, an action plan and more. Promise.

IMG_8700You see, I love being a resource for all things food. I love running my meal planning service. I try to text or email back as quickly as possible whenever a friend asks a random food question. I honestly dream about food, people. So, just let me help you figure out your Thanksgiving out this year.

And it gets so much better! I want to help you… FOR FREE!

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Well, kinda.

I am actually going to do it for all of my dear members to Lilly’s Table. If you have yet to sign up, come on over, sign up and start enjoying 1,000+ recipes that I created and photographed myself, weekly meal plans featuring seasonal produce, shopping lists and more. At just $12 per month, you will get this free customized Thanksgiving plan, too and after that you are welcome to cancel at anytime. However, if you are already a member, it will be free for you! Yippee! Congrats! T-Day will be so easy for you!

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Now, I realize this is a smashing deal that I should probably charge for and maybe I should only offer it to the first five people who contact me, but I do not like that “should” word and my goal is to help as many folks as possible this year. So, please spread the word! Share this post with the host of your Thanksgiving. Share it with your friend who is not sure what they were thinking when they signed up to bring three side dishes. Share it with your Mommy groups, your dentist, your neighbor… who else? You know a few of them are scratching their head wondering what will make their 2014 T-Day special and unique to them.

IMG_1786Still not sure if this is for you?

Maybe you are hosting Turkey Day this year and have to coordinate Aunt Sally’s Celiacs, with your brother’s new found veganism and your niece’s pickiness. What will you do? 

Maybe you are bringing a dish, but it has to be made ahead and travel three hours before being served. What would be the easiest, most stunning dish to provide?  

Maybe you are tired of attending the processed food, albeit traditional, Turkey dinner that your in-laws host every year, but you are desperate to see a veggie on the table that isn’t from a can. I have the perfect solution!

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Let me be your secret weapon. Let me help you become a Thanksgiving super star!

Now, that you are convinced. Let’s do this in three easy steps:

1. Make sure you are a member of Lilly’s Table.
2. Email me at lilly@lillystable.com or comment below with your email address and I will send you a survey.
3. Fill out the survey before November 20th. 

If you have any questions, comment below or send me an email.

I am so excited to be a part of your Thanksgiving experience!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well!
With gratitude,

Lilly

Three Cheers for Fruitcake! (Gluten Free)

Kayciesfruitcake

Please welcome Dr. Kaycie Rosen Grigel from Golden Holistic Medicine and her beautiful Gluten-Free Fruitcake.

 

I know, fruitcake has a bad repuation in this country:  It can bring up images of dry, hard, dense bricks filled with objects that used to be fruit but were replaced by neon erasers.  However, my husband’s Canadian family insists upon fruitcake as a delicious holiday treat and so I went looking for a recipe that used real fruit, nuts, spices, plenty of booze, and nothing unidentifiable.  Thanks to Alton Brown, I was able to modify his recipe to be moist, filled with a delicious array of rum-soaked natural dried fruits, crystallized ginger, and toasted pecans and hazelnuts. Because the cake part is really just there to hold all that deliciousness together, it makes little difference that it is gluten-free.  I usually make mine a few weeks ahead (which, according to the Canadians, makes it way better), but it is still pretty magnificent if you eat it the same day.

 Gluten Free Fruitcake–

Thanks to Alton Brown for the inspiration for the recipe

½ c currants
1 ¼ c raisins
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. dried apricots, chopped
½ c dried cranberries
⅓ c. crystallized ginger
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
1 1/2 c. spiced rum
1 c. sugar
5 oz butter
1 c apple juice
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 c. brown rice flour
¼ c white rice flour
½ c cornmeal
1 tsp Xanthum gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, halved
about 2 Tbsp grand marnier

Directions:

Combine Fruits, ginger, and zests.  Add rum and macerate at least 8 hours or warm over low heat in a medium saucepan 1-2 hours.  Add sugar, butter, apple juice and spices.  Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes or more.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients, then sift into fruit mixture.  Stir until integrated, then stir in eggs one at a time, then fold in nuts.  Spoon into 2 buttered nonstick loaf pans.  bake 50-70 minutes, checking for doneness every 10 minutes by inserting toothpick.  Remove cake from oven and baste with grand marnier.  Allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.  When cool, wrap thoroughly.  Check every few days to make sure it is moist, but this cake can sit for several months before eating.

Naked or MarshmallowsMy senior year of college, we found out a few of our friends were not going home for Thanksgiving. It seemed a crime for them to not enjoy a turkey feast, so we decided to have a pre-holiday meal altogether. There were about 20+ of us in our circle of friends and I went to task finding out everyone’s must-have T-day dishes.

Since I was a vegetarian at the time, I had no interest in cooking the turkey, but a couple of friends signed up for that job. So, other than the mashers, which arrived fluffy with beautiful red skins throughout, I made the rest of the meal.

I remember a few items being requested that I had never actually made before such as Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows and Creamed Corn, but they were requested and thus I worked on figuring out how to make them. Please note, this was long enough ago that the internet was not swarming with information, so many phone calls later I figured it all out.

While the college crowd was thrilled, I found myself pleased and grateful for my incredible friends, but not completely satisfied with the canned food-centric feast I had prepared. The years of Thanksgivings that followed became an unraveling of that meal.

Thanksgiving can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but I also see no excuse to eat processed food. Not just because I prefer the flavor of real food, but most sides are easier to prepare than most of us believe.

Here are a few ways to create an unprocessed, easy as pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving:

1. Fresh not Canned Sweet Potatoes (aka Yams)

The last time I opened a can of sweet potatoes (possibly that day back in college), I was amazed by the slightly syrupy, super starchy, lacking in flavor nuggets that were inside. No wonder you need marshmallows! Oh, and yes, they were called yams, (except they are not actually yams unless they are white, not sweet and all starch) but that is another story for another day.

The can-free, tastier, easier method: Scrub your sweet potato, prick all over with a paring knife, and toss in the oven alongside whatever is cooking. A temperature between 325-425 will be sufficient to roast them. Once you can squeeze the sweet potato and it feels soft, about 25-60 minutes depending on a number of factors such as the sweet potato’s size and the oven temperature, then it is ready. Chill it outside or in the fridge until it is cool enough to handle them and then peel off the skin. They will be crazy sweet from roasting and can be chopped or smashed from this point forward to be used with your favorite flavors or toppings.

What is your favorite sweet potato topping? We do this Streusel Topped Sweet Potato at home, but do you prefer Marshmallows?

2. Green Bean possibilities beyond the tins

Since the Green Bean Casserole is such a classic, try this simple enough version including my own homemade creamy mushroom sauce and crispy, oven baked onion strips. While I love dairy, I found myself wanting to explore the vegan possibility and recently created this Creamy Cauliflower Green Bean Casserole.

Typically though, I keep it simple with steamed green beans, maybe a squirt of lemon, a generous dollop of butter and toasty almonds, aka Green Bean Almandine.

3. Veggie Time

Turkey’s don’t make people sleepy. Turkey’s starchy buddies exhaust us.

One of my biggest complaints about this otherwise tasty meal is the lack of vegetables. Nothing balances all that starch like a nutrient packed salad or cooked veg.  Of course, green beans are popular, but what about a salad? Or roasted vegetables? If you are a guest at a T-Day dinner, volunteer to bring a vegetable or side salad. Here are some of my favorites:

Chopped Kale & Pomegranate Salad
Creamy Roasted Potato & Apple Salad
Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Florets

But, you can also make it crazy simple with your favorite salad mix, a crumble of dry cheese (maybe blue or feta?), pecans or other toasted nuts, and generous splash of a good quality balsamic and olive oil. This Balsamic Dressing recipe is what I use when my balsamic is not rich and aged. Follow the season’s abundance- it will not let you down!

IMG_18884. Skip the Pre-made Gravy

Here is the deal. If you are already making a turkey, the gravy is simple to make delicious and amazing. You have all of the ingredients, most likely. Flour (all-purpose or gluten-free rice flour both work) and butter (or your fat of choice- ghee? bacon? olive oil?) are critical. A box of good quality chicken broth is about as ‘processed’ as I would go if you want to cut corners. We make homemade broth at our house after roasting chicken or turkey wings and I try to always have some available before Turkey day. Here is my gravy recipe and I will keep it up and available to you until after T-day this year. If you have never made it before, this is your year. Grab a whisk and let’s make a delicious gravy.

If you have vegetarian guests, this vegan Mushroom Gravy will satisfy your entire crowd. I say this as a non-mushroom eater. They are pretty much my least favorite veg, but this gravy surprisingly makes me happy.

5. Stuffing? 

I know Pepperidge Farm and Stove Top sold us all a long time ago with their ‘easy’ take on stuffing. But, your favorite bakery fresh bread chopped into pieces and dried out will give you all that love without the processed ingredients. You can also go crazy with any combination of carb-rich bread: whole-grain, studded with dried fruits, pumpernickel, gingerbread, cornbread, panettone, and more! Here is my recipe for drying out the cubes yourself, but really it is quite simple. If you do it a few days before you won’t even need an oven. 😉

Gluten-free? There are certainly lots of possibilities these days for that, but last year I did this Herb Polenta Stuffing and it kind of rocked. This year the Roasted Root + Polenta Stuffing is rocking my world.

Your turn! How do you un-process Thanksgiving? Or are there a few dishes you prefer to have out of a box or can, otherwise it just doesn’t taste like turkey day.

Comment below and let me know!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well!

In gratitude,

Lilly

Creamy or Lumpy Mashed Potatoes?

Mashers AD Creamy or Lumpy

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To prepare for a huge Thanksgiving project I was working on several years ago, I asked friends & family about how big of a serving they prepared for every side dish.

This was the conversation with my Mom:

Me: How much stuffing per person?
Mom: ½ cup.
Me: Sweet Potatoes?
Mom: Hmmm… ½ cup.
Me: Harvest Rice Salad?
Mom: ½ cup, too!
Me: Mashed Potatoes?
Mom: 2 cups.
Me: Hahahahaha!

Clearly, as a family we are big fans. Huge, in fact! We must have an amazing recipe? Actually, we change it up a lot, but we always follow a few essential tips to ensure the tastiest, creamiest potatoes:

1. Start with cold water.
Peel the potatoes, if desired. Cut into even chunks and place directly into the pot of cold water. Once all of the potatoes are chopped and taking their cold bath, then bring the water up to a boil. This will ensure even cooking, rather than cooking the outside of the potato and leaving the inside hard.

2. When are they done?
The potatoes are done when they can be smashed with a the back of a spoon or fork. If you like a lumpier Mashed Potato, going a bit more el dente is fine, but if the goal is smooth and silky, you will want them soft. Drain the potatoes well before the next stage.

3. Creamy, Lumpy or Glue-like?
Over-beating or mixing the potatoes to oblivion will not result in a creamier potato, but rather a gluey, strange pile of blob as the starch in the potatoes becomes overworked. This has happened to me and I sometimes salvage them by making Potato Pancakes. But, patties of mashers are not the goal of course, so instead simply avoid mashing too much.

Lumpier potatoes are easier than creamy, because you are typically compelled to stop mashing sooner. Regardless, the best way to make them creamy or lumpy is to select the perfect mixing devise. Everyone has their preferred method, but avoid a food processor, blender or handheld immersion blender. In general, my favorite mashing tools are the cheapest and involve mostly my own elbow grease… or a buddy who is lurking in the kitchen ready to assist.

I have had luck with the following mashed potato tools and I put them in order of my preference, with links:

  • a simple potato masher I recently upgraded from plastic to all metal. Something about smashing burning hot potatoes with plastic creeped me out.
  • Potato Ricer This device is helpful for squeezing excess liquid out of cooked greens, too!
  • Food Mill
  • Wire Whisk This works best if your potatoes are tender, soft or you want to make lumpy mashers.

For the following, I have had some gluey experiences with these methods, but I have also had creamy deliciousness, too. Your call:

4. Flavor them up!
Beautiful flavor can often make up for potatoes that weren’t what you were hoping for. Whenever possible, warm the ingredients prior to adding. These are a few of my favorite add-ins:

  • Melted Butter
  • Brown Butter
  • Warm Cream or Half & Half*
  • Stock: turkey, chicken, vegetarian or ‘no-chicken’ broth
  • Garlic (raw or roasted)
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (in general I avoid basil, mint, and cilantro for this application)
  • Lemon zest
  • There are so many more options… such as chopped kale or shredded veggies, mustards, cheeses, etc.  Get creative and share your favorite combinations in the comments below!

5. Bonus Tip
Does the type of potato matter? I believe there are certainly starchier and creamier potatoes, but just like people each one lends its own unique flavor and texture to the experience.

I tend to do russets, because that is what I grew up with, but thinner skinned yukons, reds, and goldens all make a delightful masher, arguably, better than the russets that I normally use. I believe the hearty skin on the russets should be peeled, but I usually skip peeling if the potato is thin-skinned.

My sister and I made Purple Mashed Potatoes one year. The best part was how the color on the plate next to the drab starchy sides and beige turkey made the experience so much more exquisite! I highly recommend giving them a try soon for your most colorful T-day ever.

6. Got leftovers?
Technically leftover mashed potatoes are  a rarity in our home. But, Shepherd’s Pie and Potato Pancakes occasionally appear when we do manage to make too many potatoes.

What are your Mashed Potato tips? I know I hit just the tip of that fluffy pile of advice, so please enlighten all of us with your insightful comments below.

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well!
In gratitude,

Lilly

 

*Yes, any milk, including skim milk can work in theory, but if flavor is what you are after go for a bit more fat. At least whole milk, please!? If you are feeling nervous about fat, chicken or vegetable stock is probably a better route for adding flavor.

IMG_0654In many ways, tossing a turkey in the oven is simply one of the easiest dishes for Thanksgiving. With minimal maintenance hours later the turkey pops out ready for carving. However, there are a few simple methods that can give you a higher possibility of having the tastiest bird ever. And it is not brining the bird every 20 minutes… I am lazy and skip that opting for these tips below:

1. Brine it! 

Ever since I have started brining, I have been very, very, satisfied with my turkeys. It is all about the brine, baby. It is surprisingly simple to make the brine, but a large container for submerging the bird, an XXL Ziploc bag or brining bags are needed to complete the mission.

The simple way to brine is to bring the following up to a boil:
1/2 gallon of water
1 cup of kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar up to a boil

Simmer until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool. Once it is no longer steamy hot, stir in another 1 1/2 gallons of ice packed water. It will now finish cooling.

Submerge the bird.

If it is not fully under the brine, add water until it is. You may need to double the brine recipe if your bird is gigantic or your container is too big. Next pull out the bird, air or towel dry and then follow your favorite turkey recipe.

Rest at least 8 hours up to 24 hours. Overnight is the general rule. Last year, I was super lazy and tired. I didn’t fully submerge my bird (space was an issue) and we fully intended to flip it several times. I failed miserably and while the turkey was fine, it was oddly half-brined with a strange combination of delicious and then ho-hum pieces. Learn from my mistake and fully submerge!

Bags are awesome for this, too. I know where my bag is located (couldn’t find it last year- hence the issue) and I am excited to use it this Thanksgiving.

Of course, if you want to follow a more detailed, flavorful recipe, try my Cranberry Spice Brined Turkey.

2. Want a Crispy Skin? Butter it up! 

If you brined your turkey, let the skin dry out a bit in the air before cooking or pat dry with towels/paper towels.

Next, generously rub the turkey with a big old stick of butter. I am serious about being generous with the butter, the goal is for it to penetrate down into the flesh. Better yet, if you can slip some of the butter below the skin directly on to the flesh, even better. Olive oil can work as well, but it is more challenging to maneuver and massage in.

If you skipped the brine, season it with at least a 1/2 cup of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper everywhere, too.

If you want an even more flavorful skin and bird, try my Herb Roast Turkey.

3. Cook it Breast Side Down

The juice from the legs and thighs will run into the breasts which have a tendency to get dry by the time the legs have cooked through.

Also, this gives the skin on the legs and thighs have an additional opportunity to get a bit crispy and flavorful, too. (Have you noticed? I am a big fan of the skin!)

4. In my home the Stuffing is not Stuffed

If you want some of the juices from the bird going into the stuffing, just pour some drippings across the stuffing afterwards. I prefer a super moist stuffing, but find that a homemade turkey, chicken or vegetarian broth is all I need to satisfy that flavor. Also, since I often have a vegetarian guest or two, this gives them another dish to enjoy.

The stuffing can often cause issues when being cooked inside the bird. It means, you have to cook the bird longer to ensure the bird and the stuffing are all safe.

And it is messy. Ugh. Since I am hardly neat and tidy when it comes to cooking (I try, I swear!) I cut out messy when necessary.

Rarely, is the cavity empty though! I usually toss in a few handfuls of onion quarters, apples, oranges, lemons and a bouquet of herbs. Just fill it about half full in big chunks with lots of space in between. If desired, some of these fruits & veggies can be chopped and added into the stuffing as well afterwards.

5. Use a thermometer

There are certainly methods to check the turkey, such as pulling the leg up and out to reveal juices that run clear, but a thermometer is crazy helpful when you are running around the kitchen multitasking as I so often do on T-day when the turkey is needing my attention.

Test your thermometer if possible or buy a new one if you are unsure. I am a big fan of this remote thermometer, since I can stick it in the thigh and close the oven door.

Once you hit 160 degrees, check the rest of the bird in a few of the thickest parts (center of the breast, center of the thigh, deep in the joint where it meets the body) the goal is for at least 160, but hitting 165 is considered safest.

6. As John Lennon said…

Let it be, let it be,
Let it be, yeah, let it be…

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover with a lid or tent of foil. Allow it to rest and come up to temperature, at least 10-15 minutes. The internal temperature should usually come up to about 170-175.

This also gives you an opportunity to place all of the side dishes in the oven to finish warming up. I try to make sure most of my sides are warm before this final heating process, but if that is not possible, I blast the heat in my oven (about 425) making sure everything is tightly covered and moist. I have more tips about making side dishes and the whole meal in general, too… coming soon, so stay posted!

I certainly could go on from here, but these are the tips I share off the top of my head whenever I am talking turkeys!

What do you always do for your turkeys? Or what tips have you been curious to try?

Let me know below!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well! xoxo,

Chef Lilly  IMG_0683