by amanda

Apple-Sage Brined Turkey Breast

November 15, 2011 in turkey by amanda

I hate to admit this, but I don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. I don’t. I’m not a turkey person. I would rather load up on stuffing and green beans and mushrooms and oh my goodness, the gravy.

I set out to make a turkey that I couldn’t resist and resist this turkey I could not. You start with a turkey breast (which btw, I expected to be small. The smallest breast I could find was 7 pounds! Seven!) and you brine it in a mixture made from cider, brown sugar, and sage. Then when you cook it, you baste it with butter, more cider, and more sage. I cannot begin to explain to you how good my house smelled as this bird was cooking.

The best part, of course, was the gravy! It was sweet from the cider and the sage just put it over the top. I think I am officially obsessed with sage.

I couldn’t stop taking little pieces every time I walked past the kitchen. It was fantastic and I’m hoping my husband will let me cook one of his turkeys using this method for the big day.

Apple-Sage Brined Turkey Breast


For the brine:
½ gallon (64 ounces) apple cider
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup coarse salt
¼ cup chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 bone-in whole turkey breast (5 to 6 lb), thawed if frozen
For the basting sauce and gravy:
¼ cup butteror margarine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt


  1. Reserve 1 cup apple cider for basting; cover and refrigerate.
  2. In 6-quart bowl or stockpot, stir remaining cider, the brown sugar, kosher salt, ¼ cup fresh sage and the peppercorns until salt is dissolved. Add turkey breast. Cover; refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 325F. Remove turkey from brine; rinse thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry. Discard brine.
  4. Place turkey, skin side up, on rack in large shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in the thickest part of breast and does not touch bone. Roast uncovered 1 hour.
  5. In 1-quart saucepan, heat reserved apple cider, the butter, 1 tablespoon fresh sage and the garlic over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
  6. Roast turkey about 1 hour longer or until thermometer reads 165F and juice of turkey is clear when center of thickest part is cut, basting turkey generously with apple cider mixture and pan juices every 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, and let stand 15 minutes for easier carving.
  7. Meanwhile, pour pan drippings and scrapings into measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Skim fat from top of drippings, and place in 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat. Add enough water to remaining drippings to measure 2 cups; set aside.
  8. Stir ¼ cup flour into fat in saucepan, using wire whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in reserved 2 cups drippings and the salt. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute or until gravy thickens.

This post linked to Taste and Tell.

by amanda

Lettuce Wraps

June 24, 2010 in turkey by amanda

I am forever on a search for inexpensive, quick dinner ideas. A lot of times I feel like I’ve used every idea out there and I just give up and make a casserole that I know we like. I do have an ever-growing list of meals that I want to try but haven’t been able to find the perfect recipe. Lettuce wraps have been on the list for as long as I’ve been cooking, I think. Most of the recipes I came across called for weird ingredients: apples, bean sprouts, things that I wouldn’t touch.

I was so excited to find this recipe because it’s all basic things that I’ll actually eat. I mean, the water chestnuts were iffy but I figured if they were small enough, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.

These lettuce wraps for a-mazing. Everything works awesomely together and the crunch from the water chestnuts is actually enjoyable! The cilantro and green onions add amazing flavor and even my husband, who hates anything with herbs in it, loved these so much that he’s offered to go to the store to buy more turkey so I can make another batch. I had originally planned on skipping the dipping sauce but it’s a must. It’s almost like a vinaigrette thanks to the rice wine vinegar. Delicious!

Lettuce Wraps
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup minced mushrooms 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, minced
1/2 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 lemon, zested and then juiced.
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 head iceberg lettuce
*Dipping Sauce recipe to follow

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add minced garlic and ginger. Saute for a minute just until fragrant and then add in the ground chicken, minced mushrooms, and salt. Cook until turkey or chicken is cooked through.

Add in the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for a few minutes until onions start to wilt. Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, juice and zest from the lemon, and crushed red pepper. When everything is cooked through, remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

To serve, carefully separate the whole leaves from the lettuce. Wash the lettuce leaves and wrap them in paper towels and put them in the refrigerator so they are cold and crisp when serving. Spoon chicken filling onto the lettuce leaf and then roll it up and serve with dipping sauce below- or any other favorite Asian dipping sauce.

Lettuce Wrap Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

Combine all ingredients and serve with lettuce wraps.

Two years ago: Mixed Berry Cobbler

by amanda

Turkey Goulash

January 20, 2010 in pasta, turkey by amanda

There was a time, after my first kiddo was born, that Food Network was on my television almost 24/7. I was fascinated and trying to learn as much as possible. On more than one occasion I saw Paula and her son make a goulash that sounded so good but it was a huge recipe and at that point I was not confident enough to try to half a recipe. I mean, dividing everything by 2 sure is hard work. ;)

I came across that very recipe this past weekend while browsing around Paula’s website and was so excited to give it a try. I divided everything in half as I originally wanted to do and switched ground turkey out for the ground beef, which I’m sure violates some goulash law.

This is seriously my new favorite meal. I’m not sure why I liked it so much since it’s basically just pasta with red sauce, but I really loved it. I’ve even been working on the leftovers which isn’t something I normally do.

Turkey Goulash

adapted from Paula Deen


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or small shells


  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is cooked through and onion is soft. Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, soy sauce, bay leaf, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add pasta, stir well, cover & let cook for 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaf before serving.

by amanda

CEiMB – Stuffed Turkey Burgers

August 13, 2009 in CEiMB, turkey by amanda

It’s Thursday again which means another Craving Ellie in my Belly post! This week was hosted by Pantry Revisited and the chosen recipe was Ellie’s stuffed turkey burgers.

I’m a big fan of turkey burgers but my husband always complains about a weird texture, so I was a little nervous about this. Luckily, he was onboard and even did the cooking for me after I stuffed them.

Ellie’s recipe calls for roasted red bell peppers which I hate so I sautéed up some mushrooms and mixed those with the mozzarella. The mushrooms had that sort of meaty texture so they were hardly noticeable but still delicious. The burgers stayed nice and moist and didn’t even need any condiments! Definitely a quick yet tasty meal.

Go visit Pantry Revisited to get the recipe. Trust me, you’ll want this one.

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