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Leftover Turkey? How About with Pasta!

Besides soup and sandwiches, here’s another option for leftover turkey: Creamy Pasta with Turkey and Crispy Crumbs. This pasta recipe features an Alfredo-like sauce dressed up with leftover shredded (or cubed) turkey, crispy bread crumbs, and salty capers and is ready to eat in just over a half hour.

The original recipe, found in a past issue of Fine Cooking Magazine, used linguine as the pasta. We substituted whole wheat spaghetti since we already had it in our pantry. Any long pasta such as fettuccine, bucatini or linguine will work, just cook according to package directions for al dente.

Creamy Pasta with Turkey and Crispy Crumbs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme and/or sage leaves
  • 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (or other long stranded pasta)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. capers, drained


  1. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Add half the garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add bread crumbs and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown and aromatic. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out pan. Stir parsley into bread crumbs.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add celery and remaining garlic; cook and stir over medium 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in cream; simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Add turkey and thyme; cook and stir until heated through.
  5. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Stir cooking liquid into turkey mixture then toss with pasta.
  6. Stir in cheese, capers, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Divide among 4 plates; top each with bread crumbs.

Recipe compliments of Fine Cooking Magazine

Cocktail Time!

The holiday season is upon us which means enjoying a festive cocktail, or three. On an occasional Autumn/Winter Sunday evening it has been our custom the past few years to experiment making new libations. This Pear Gin Cocktail with Rosemary caught our attention recently, and so we had to give it a trial run to see if it was company-worthy.

The answer is a resounding yes! The combination of fresh fruit, infused simple syrup, and a touch of ginger liqueur creates an easy, elevated cocktail to sip as you enjoy some party-time hors d’oeuvres.

Just remember to make the rosemary simple syrup a day or so ahead of time. All you need to do is combine equal parts sugar, water and add fresh rosemary sprigs in a medium saucepan. You’ll also need a wooden spoon, a wire-mesh strainer or slotted spoon, and a jar or bottle to store it in.

Combine 1 cup each of water, sugar, and several sprigs of rosemary in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let syrup steep for 30 minutes. Pour syrup into a sterilized glass jar through a mesh strainer to remove rosemary leaves; let cool.

Pear Gin Cocktail with Rosemary

  • Servings: 2 drinks
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 oz. good dry gin, such as Short Path
  • 2 oz. rosemary simple syrup, (made ahead)
  • 1 oz. ginger liqueur
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 slices of fresh ripened pear
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish


  1. Place two slices of pear and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, gently crush and break up the pear.
  2. Add ice to the shaker. Add gin, rosemary simple syrup and ginger liqueur, shake well.
  3. Double strain into 2 rocks glasses filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a a slice of pear.
  5. Enjoy. Repeat 😉

Libation courtesy of Katy McAvoy

Chicken Escabeche

This Peruvian chicken escabeche is seasoned with aji amarillo, an orange-yellow chili ubiquitous to that country’s cuisine. In the U.S., the chilies are difficult to find fresh, but aji amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available in some well-stocked markets, specialty stores, or easily online. We purchased it online as a 3-pack with two other Peruvian pastes.

Escabeche is made by soaking meat or seafood in an acidic marinade after cooking, allowing the addition of bright flavors without altering the texture of the meat. The fruity, yet earthy flavor of aji amarillo is an important part of this dish, but if you cannot find the paste, use 1 or 2 seeded and finely minced jalapeños.

FYI–Don’t use regular chili powder instead of pure ancho chili powder. Regular chili powder is a spice blend, whereas ancho chili powder contains only ancho chilies. If you can’t find the powdered, grind some dried ancho chilies in a spice grinder, as shown above.

Because the skin was removed, you might encounter the chicken meat sticking to the pan. Try to pry most of it off the pan, but it is OK to leave some of the meat because it will make a nice fond and release itself once the liquids are added in. It was delicious served with the onion mixture on top of the thighs over a bed of garlic rice.

Chicken Escabeche

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs (4 thighs), skin removed, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo paste
  • 1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 medium red onions, halved and sliced ¾-inch thick
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar


  1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook on each side, without disturbing, until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and simmer until a skewer inserted into the largest thigh meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic, aji amarillo paste, ancho chili and cumin, then cook, scraping the bottom, until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onions, bell pepper, 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then add the vinegar. Cook, stirring, until the onions have begun to soften and the sauce is just thick enough to coat the vegetables, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reduced broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring, until thickened to a glaze, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the reserved chicken. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Pan-Seared Bone-In Pork Chops with Maple Agrodolce

To explain, agrodolce is an Italian sauce with a sticky consistency. Its name is Italian for “sour” (agro) and “sweet” (dolce). A classic agrodolce recipe contains reduced honey or sugar, vinegar, pine nuts, and a mixture of dried fruits and veggies, such as golden raisins, red onion, dried figs, or currants. The vinegar you use to make agrodolce impacts the flavor of the sauce. Here we used balsamic.

This simple sauce with limited ingredients is a quick agrodolce. Meats such as pork chops, chicken breasts, and steak benefit from a sauce with sweet-tart flavors post-grilling or pan-searing. And we paired our chops with a wonderful side of Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro.

*If desired and you have the time, season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.

Pan-Seared Bone-In Pork Chops with Maple Agrodolce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • (14- to 16-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops, 1½ inches thick, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper


  1. *Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.
  2. Pat chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with pepper. Place chops 1 inch apart in cold 12-inch nonstick or carbon-steel skillet, arranging so narrow part of 1 chop is opposite wider part of second. Place skillet over high heat and cook chops for 2 minutes. Flip chops and cook on second side for 2 minutes. (Neither side of chops will be browned at this point.)
  3. Flip chops; reduce heat to medium; and continue to cook, flipping chops every 2 minutes, until exterior is well browned and meat registers 140 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Chops should be sizzling; if not, increase heat slightly. Reduce heat if skillet starts to smoke.)
  4. Transfer chops to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. If serving more than 2 people, carve the meat from the bone and make slices about 1⁄2″ thick. Season meat with coarse or flake sea salt to taste. Serve with bones, if desired.

Maple Agrodolce

This easy, elegant sauce from Cook’s Illustrated is the perfect accompaniment to cuts of pork, such as the above Pan-Seared Thick-Cut, Bone-In Pork Chops. Using maple syrup as a sweetener in place of sugar contributed viscosity, enhancing cling, and an attractive glossiness. Plump raisins, or dried figs add pleasing texture, and minced shallot and red pepper flakes amp up the savoriness, keeping the sauce from becoming cloying.


  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins OR dried figs, chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch table salt


  1. Bring all ingredients to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
  2. Serve. (If not using right away, cover to keep warm.)

Parsnip Purée

Sometimes we desire something a bit more upscale than plain mashed potatoes (which I dearly love). So when I ran across this Parsnip Purée recipe from Ina Garten, I knew instantly that we had to make this side dish. And it is about as easy as a side dish gets, seriously (just take a look at the abbreviated ingredients list).

Parsnips are really delicious and so under-appreciated. The versatile veggie is the essence of parsnip-ness with just a little butter that generates that sigh of pure satisfaction. A sensational, silky-smooth, slightly assertive side that you’ll be pairing with any number of main dishes. The first time out of the gate, it accompanied a seared sirloin steak, but we are imaging all of the other possibilities such as roast chicken, pork loin, salmon, leg of lamb…

Make sure to put it on your short list!

Parsnip Purée

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1½ lbs. parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish, optional


  1. Place 1½ pounds parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick, in a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and add enough water to cover the parsnips. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft when tested with a small knife. Don’t drain the pot!
  2. With a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer the parsnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to chop the parsnips. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and pour ½ cup down the feed tube. Purée the parsnips, adding more cooking liquid (about 1 cup total) through the feed tube until the parsnips are creamy and almost smooth but still have some texture.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and purée until combined. Taste for seasonings, sprinkle with fresh chives and serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chickpeas

Juicy chicken thighs are coated in a bold tomato rub with lots of fresh garlic and warm, earthy spices including smoked paprika and cumin, and brightened with a hint of lemon juice. The whole thing comes together in a flash — simply chop some veggies and season everything with the tomato rub. Toss it into a sheet pan and roast.

There is nothing complicated about the ingredient list either. You just need some spices, chickpeas, vegetables, and chicken. For more heat, use hot smoked paprika instead. It lends itself well to customizations, so feel free to swap out carrots for other root veggies like beets or parsnips, or add potatoes or sweet potatoes for more heft.

While we did start out piling everything on one sheet pan (against out better judgement), after 30 minutes in the oven, we transferred the chicken thighs on another prepared baking sheet and covered with foil. The reason being, the vegetables were steaming instead of roasting. The veggies went back into the oven to continue cooking until fork tender and beginning to brown slightly, another 10-15 minutes. As the vegetable tray was roasting, we then popped the thighs, uncovered, under the broiler (we have a 2-oven stove).

Next time, we may start with dividing everything between 2 sheet pans from the start. You may prep ahead by chopping the vegetables and making the sauce. Just refrigerate them until ready to begin cooking.

FYI, we are using boneless skinless chicken thighs here, but bone-in thighs or boneless skinless breasts would work as well. Since boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook in about 18 minutes in the oven, you will need to roast your vegetables for about 10 minutes first, then add the breasts. Otherwise, the carrots won’t cook in time.

Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chickpeas

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tomato Rub

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 large lemons, about ½ cup
  • 5 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes or granules

Chicken And Vegetables

  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, halved and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat if necessary


  1. Position one rack in the center of the oven and another one 4 or 5 inches under the broiler. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  2. Prepare the tomato rub: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, paprika, and Aleppo pepper. Whisk well to combine.
  3. Prepare the chicken and vegetables: Lightly brush a large sheet pan with some of the olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, onions, and chickpeas. Season well with salt and black pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Add 4 tablespoons of the tomato rub and a small drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon), and mix well to coat. Transfer the mixture to the sheet pan. Set bowl aside for chicken.
  4. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Place the chicken in the reserved bowl and add the remaining tomato mixture, tossing until the chicken is well coated.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the sheet pan(s) along with the chickpeas and vegetables. Roast on the center rack until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes (ours took more like 45 minutes). Then move the sheet pan up to the top rack directly under the heat and broil until the chicken gains some color, 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully. The onions and carrots may also gain some char.
  6. Serve with your favorite rustic bread, if desired.

Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh

Shrimp Pasta with Preserved Lemon

Here, preserved lemon is paired with seared shrimp in this easy weeknight pasta recipe. It also features garlic, chile flakes, plenty of Parmesan, and a touch of fresh lemon juice, bringing the full spectrum of lemon flavor to the table. Let me just put it out there, the dish was luxuriously fantastic!

It’s amazing that this silky sauce contains no cream. One of the main ingredients, preserved lemon, adds a wonderful base note and should not be omitted. Then, instead of using an entire pound of pasta, we scaled it back to half that amount for a better balance with the shrimp. Just keep in mind, it may not provide 4 entrée-sized portions (depending on hungry your diners are!).

Back to those preserved lemons. They are a versatile pantry staple with the power to level up the flavor of any dish it touches. Unlike the aggressively pungent and assertive flavor of fresh lemon rind, preserved lemons have softer, richer, and deeper flavors, mellowed by the salty bath that pickles them. While they lose some of their bracing acidity, citrusy aromas and gentle tanginess remain.

We keep a jar of preserved lemons in our auxiliary refrigerator at most times. Which BTW, take at least 3 weeks “hibernating” in a cool room, then a spin in the fridge before they are ready to use. The jar of preserved lemons, at left, was just made with kosher salt, lemons, black peppercorns and bay leaves.

TIP: If you don’t have, or can’t find preserved lemons, you can microwave four 2-inch strips lemon zest, minced, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon water, ¼ teaspoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt at 50 percent power until the liquid evaporates, about 1½ minutes, stirring and mashing the lemon with the back of a spoon every 30 seconds.

Shrimp Pasta with Preserved Lemon

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 lb. medium tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or penne)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemon rinds
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for serving


  1. Cook 1 lb. medium tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or penne) in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, pat 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, dry with paper towels; season lightly with kosher salt. Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped, ¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemon, and ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until preserved lemon is softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until just opaque, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add pasta, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing vigorously, until butter is melted and sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup finely grated Parmesan; toss until melted.
  5. Add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and ½ cup finely grated Parmesan and cook, stirring vigorously and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce is thickened and coats pasta, about 1 minute. Mix in 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice and ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley.
  6. Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Top with more finely grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley.

Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Gurjar for Bon Appétit

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

We try as often as possible to include super foods, and in this recipe it’s cabbage. In fact, according to Wiki studies, cabbage has protective effects against colon cancer amongst many other diseases. Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and folate. That sounded like good enough reason to try this recipe.

It’s best to season the mixture with what you and your family prefer. I made the cumin and red pepper flakes as part of the ingredients and NOT optional. But if you feel on the adventurous side, you may want to consider including a little brown sugar, celery seed and/or add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Another one-pot wonder… The original recipe called for a small head of cabbage, but after making it, we both felt it could use a large head for a better meat to veggie ratio. A slice of toasted crusty bread with a garlic-butter sauce was a perfect compliment to the goulash.

Note: It may seem like you don’t have enough liquid at first but when the cabbage cooks down it will be perfect.

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lbs. ground turkey, (or pork, or lamb, or beef)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 6 oz. vegetable or chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • A few leaves of chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat a Dutch oven or extra large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the onions until translucent. Cook beef or turkey meat and onion in the hot Dutch oven until browned.
  3. Drain and discard grease.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, and fresh basil. Use fire roasted or flavored diced tomatoes for more flavor.
  5. Bring the ingredients to a boil.
  6. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.

Loosely adapted from a recipe on

Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro

This time of year, squashes have their moment(s) in the sun. Here, the roasted squash shines when using spicy, tangy ingredients to banish one-note flavors. Lime, garlic and chilies add kick; while brown sugar creates a glaze-like coating with molasses notes that enhance the earthy-sweet squash.

Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin with mottled green edible skin and dense, slightly starchy orange flesh. Acorn squash, with thin skin that doesn’t require peeling, also is a terrific option. With no kabocha to choose from, we opted for the acorn squash.

This recipe would make for a nice side dish on your Thanksgiving table. Just sayin’… OR, pair it with Pan-Seared Bone-in Pork Chops, a fabulous cool weather meal.

Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lime zest, plus ¼ cup lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 lb. kabocha squash OR two 1¼-lb. acorn squashes, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 serrano OR Fresno chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with half of this mixture, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Arrange the pieces cut side down and roast until browned on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each piece, drizzle with the remaining oil mixture and sprinkle with the garlic and chili(es). Roast until the squash is deeply caramelized and a skewer inserted into the largest piece meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a platter, pouring over any juices. Top with the lime zest and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Jamaican-Style Ginger-Chili Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

This Instant Pot take on a Jamaican-style Sunday meal was in a recent issue of Milk Street Magazine. It is adapted from “Caribbean Cooking Made Easy” by British-Jamaican reggae musician and chef Levi Roots.

Changes that Milk Street made included swapping in flavor-packed beef chuck and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, bolstered by bright chilies and ginger, savory scallions and earthy thyme. Then tomato paste and soy sauce added umami-rich depth, while brown sugar and warm allspice rounded everything out.

For faster, more even cooking, divide the chuck roast into two pieces by pulling it apart at its natural seams and trimming away excess fat. Tying both pieces with kitchen twine compacts the meat, allowing the roast to fit comfortably in the pot. You can pressure cook the beef quickly or slow cook it for a hands-off, all-day affair—regardless, it will emerge fragrant and fork tender. We did the fast method which took about 2 hours and 45 minutes, all said and done.

It’s difficult at best to find a 5-pound chuck roast, so if you have the same experience, just purchase two 2 1⁄2 pound roasts. Break each one down along the seam, remove large deposits of fat, then tie the two strips back together with kitchen twine.

Our habaneros were on the large size and I was a bit concerned they might be overwhelming. However, when the meal was ready for plating and we tasted the stew, the chili kick was mild and added a perfect depth of flavor.

Probably one of the few people on earth who don’t own an Instant Pot, we used our large pressure cooker which worked just as well. We both agreed, this was one wonderful pot roast, and the tender sweet potato chunks and velvety sauce just enhanced the meal even more! Full of fruity, sweet and spicy notes, this roast is great garnished with scallion greens or cilantro and served with a crisp, green salad.

Jamaican-Style Ginger-Chili Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately (reserve some greens as a garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 habanero chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 5 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, separated at the seams into 2 pieces, trimmed of fat, the 2 pieces tied with kitchen twine at intervals
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice


  1. On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Heat the oil until shimmering, then add the sugar, tomato paste, scallion whites, ginger, chilies and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, thyme, allspice and ½ cup water, then nestle in the beef.
  2. Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Press Cancel, then press Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 1 hour.
  3. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 25 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  4. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and tent with foil.
  5. Skim off and discard the fat from the cooking liquid. Stir in the sweet potatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Select Normal/Medium Sauté and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer the potatoes to a platter.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 3 tablespoons water, then whisk the mixture into the cooking liquid. Add the scallion greens and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Press Cancel to turn off the pot.
  8. Remove and discard the thyme, then stir in the lime juice. Slice the beef and arrange on the platter, then pour on some sauce. Garnish the platter with some scallion greens or chopped cilantro, and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Recipe from Milk Street Magazine

Herbed Roast Turkey with Gravy

Arguably, the most anticipated feasting day of the year in the U.S. is Thanksgiving. With just a few short weeks away, it’s time to start planning the meal(s). If turkey is at the bottom of your must-have meats because you think it is dry and tasteless, then you need to rethink your stance on the poultry subject with this recipe.

Not often (ever?) have we thought of serving a whole turkey with gravy on Super Bowl Sunday. But this recipe was under development and was intended for America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country recipe testers only. That’s us, and we were under a deadline to get it done.

The meal was ready to eat just as half-time started… not bad timing… There are three options for the herb paste and we chose the Thyme-Fennel Paste. Keep in mind you need to make the paste and rub it under the skin of the turkey, and refrigerate the bird uncovered anywhere from 24 to 48 hours before you start cooking, so it takes a bit of planning on your end. We are debating which rub to make for this coming Thanksgiving. (List of rubs follows recipe.)

This process also requires a baking stone, and the success of the recipe is dependent on saturating the baking stone and roasting pan with heat. Luckily The Hubs received a rectangular one for Christmas a few months prior that fit perfectly under the roasting pan.

And don’t omit making the fabulous gravy, it brings everything on your plate altogether, and is so good you may be tempted to drink it…

Herbed Roast Turkey with Gravy

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 1 recipe herb paste (recipes follow)
  • 4 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 (12- to 14-lb.) turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for gravy
  • 2½ Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Combine ¼ cup herb paste, 4 tablespoons salt, and 4 teaspoons sugar in bowl. Place turkey, breast side up, on counter. Using your fingers, carefully loosen skin covering breast and legs. Rub 2 tablespoons herb mixture under skin of each breast, 4 teaspoons under skin of each leg, and remaining herb mixture inside cavity. Tuck wings behind back and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place turkey on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 to 48 hours.
  2. At least 30 minutes before roasting turkey, adjust oven rack to lowest position, set baking stone on rack, set roasting pan on baking stone, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Combine 1½ teaspoons oil and baking powder in small bowl. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub oil mixture evenly over turkey. Cover turkey breast with double layer of aluminum foil.
  4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil into roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, in pan and return pan to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and roast for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir 1 tablespoon herb paste into melted butter.
  6. Remove turkey from oven. Discard foil and brush herb butter evenly over turkey. Return turkey to oven, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and continue to roast until breast registers 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 1 to 1½ hours longer.
  7. Using a spatula, loosen turkey from roasting pan; transfer to carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 45 minutes. While turkey rests, using wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from bottom of roasting pan. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Transfer drippings to fat separator and let rest for 10 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and defatted liquid (you should have 1 cup; add water if necessary). Discard remaining fat.
  8. Heat reserved fat in large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add reserved neck and giblets and cook until well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer neck and giblets to large plate. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrot, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is well coated with fat, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved defatted liquid and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
  9. Whisk in water, wine, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves. Return neck and giblets to pan and bring to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Discard neck. Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer, discarding solids. Stir in remaining herb paste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl.
  10. Carve turkey and arrange on serving platter. Serve with gravy.

Herb Paste Options

Herbes de Provence-Lemon Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Thyme-Fennel Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground fennel
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Sage-Fenugreek Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

→ Whole fenugreek seeds can be difficult to grind, it is strongly recommended to purchase the spice already ground.

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu

Simple is, as simple gets—and this recipe couldn’t be much simpler. With literally just a handful or so of ingredients, you end up with this pretty impressive dinner in less than an hour.

A fun play on hasselback potatoes, Ree Drummond’s chicken is stuffed with Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese and a crunchy breadcrumb topping. Bonus? You can make this dish in advance and freeze until you’re ready to eat.

Easily cut in half, or even for two, each breast is enough for one serving for most eaters. We used regular Dijon mustard as opposed to honey Dijon which is sweeter. The Swiss cheese slice quarters were taller than the bacon moons so the tops were folded down to equal the same height as the bacon halves.

Consider using a large enough parchment-lined baking sheet so that there is room around each breast for more crisping around the edges.

Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup honey, or regular Dijon mustard 
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs 
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted 
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
  • 12 slices Swiss cheese, cut into quarters 
  • 24 rounds Canadian bacon (about 1 lb.), cut into half-moons 


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. At a slight angle, cut 6 slits into each of the chicken breasts, making sure not to cut all the way through. You should leave roughly 1/4 inch unsliced. Transfer the slit chicken breasts to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of the mustard.
  3. Mix together the breadcrumbs, melted butter, salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the chicken, using your hands to press the mixture into the mustard. Place a quarter piece of cheese and a half-moon piece of Canadian bacon into each of the slits in each chicken breast.
  4. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden, 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the size of the breasts). Serve warm with your favorite sides.
  5. Freezing instructions: Once the uncooked chicken breasts are assembled, place 4 onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet; repeat with the remaining chicken breasts on a separate lined baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheets to the freezer until the chicken breasts are frozen through, at least 3 hours. Transfer the chicken breasts to 2 wax paper-lined foil pans. Label, date and freeze until ready to eat.
  6. When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the chicken breasts from frozen until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden, about 40 minutes. Serve as directed above.

Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond

Thai Stir-Fried Pork with Basil, Chilies and Garlic

The Thai name for this dish is Pad Krapao meaning “fried holy basil”. It is a fragrant, flavor-packed Thai stir-fry. Despite the dishes name, the basil isn’t actually fried, but wilted into the mix at the very end of cooking.

Our holy basil—which has a peppery, menthol-like bite—was done for the season, so we opted to use our fresh Thai basil, still going strong in the raised herb bed. Sweet Italian basil is a third choice; but if using either of the last two, you’ll need to use 50% more.

To top it all off, a fried egg with a runny yolk is used, adding creaminess while the crisp edges provide crunch. Not typically a fan of runny yolks, I decided to go with it for this recipe. Glad I did because it did add not only to the flavor but also the contrasting textures.

As with most stir-fries, don’t start cooking until all of the ingredients are prepped and near the stove. And don’t cook those eggs in advance because they should still be warm when added to the dish. If you prefer a more fiery kick, don’t discard the chili seeds.

Thai Stir-Fried Pork with Basil, Chilies and Garlic

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 7 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 or 5 Fresno chilies. stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 cups (1oz.) lightly packed holy basil OR 3 cups lightly packed Thai or Italian basil, torn
  • Steamed jasmine rice to serve


  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic and chilies. Pulse until finely chopped, with some slightly larger pieces remaining, 8 to 10 pulses.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, sou sauce, fish sauce, sugar and a 1⁄2 cup water. Set both the garlic-chili mixture and the sauce mixture near the stove.
  3. In a 12- or 14-inch wok over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until barely smoking. Reduce to medium, the crack 2 eggs into the center of the wok, each in a different spot. Use a silicone spatula to gently push edges of the egg whites toward the yolk to keep the eggs separate.
  4. Cook, occasionally spooning some of the hot oil over the eggs until the whites are crisp and brown on the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining to 2 eggs. Wipe out wok.
  5. Return the wok to medium-high and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oiluntil barely smoking. Add the garic-chili mixture and cook, stirring until fragrant and lightly browned.
  6. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until the meat is broken up into mostly small bits, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink and the liquid thickens slightly but remains saucy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Off heat add the basil and stir until just wilted. Divide the rice and the stir-fry among serving plates and top each with an egg.

Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Navy Bean and Artichoke Dip

Perfect party pleaser. Looking for something healthy, yet tasty, to serve your guests or bring to a party? The secret behind this creamy and complex tasting bean dip is to pair a starchy bean with a lighter legume or vegetable. By using a combination, you avoid the pastiness of dips that use only beans. To further freshen the dips, add creamy Greek-style yogurt, a healthy dose of lemon juice, and a full ¼ cup of herbs.

Navy Bean and Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: Yields 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice
  • 1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
  • 1 15-oz. can navy beans, 2 Tbsp. liquid reserved, beans rinsed
  • 1 scallion, white and light-green parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces, green part sliced thin on bias
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • ¾ tsp.
  • Salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Combine garlic and lemon zest and juice in small bowl; set aside for at least 15 minutes. Measure out 2 tablespoons artichoke hearts, chop coarsely, and set aside for garnish.
  2. Pulse beans, reserved bean liquid, remaining artichoke hearts, scallion whites and light greens, parsley, ground fennel, ¾ teaspoon salt, cayenne, and lemon juice mixture in food processor until fully ground, 5 to 10 pulses. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula.
  3. Continue to process until uniform paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl twice. Add yogurt and continue to process until smooth and homogeneous, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
  4. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (Dip can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Let refrigerated dip stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.)
  5. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with reserved artichoke hearts and scallion greens. Drizzle with oil and serve.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Over the course of nearly 9 years writing this blog, I have posted numerous meatball recipes from many different cultures. Until The Hubs recently came across this one from The Mediterranean Dish, we had never heard of Soutzoukakia, football-shaped Greek meatballs.

Soutzoukakia is not an easy word to enunciate, so try this “soot-zoo-KAH-kee-ah”. Flavor-packed meatballs with loads of aromatics, fresh parsley, and a special blend of spices, including ground cumin and a touch of cinnamon baked in a rich tomato sauce.

Soutzoukakia are delicious meatballs made with ground beef, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and a unique spice combination, the star of which is cumin. The cumin’s warm and distinctive flavor with bitter, lemony undertones provides a great earthy base here. Adding to the flavor is the epic tomato sauce scented with bay, garlic and a touch of cinnamon.

The meatballs are baked in the sauce to create a dish that is comfort food at it’s finest. The secret to making great meatballs that are extra tender and juicy? Add pieces of milk-soaked bread and use a light hand when mixing and forming the meatballs. (With no whole wheat bread slices on hand, we incorporated a toasted hamburger roll.)

When you first eyeball all of the ingredients, you may say “No way!” But if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that 4 of those ingredients repeat in both the meatballs and in the sauce. Plus, there is no need to brown the meatballs, which is a time-saver in itself.

To make ahead, you can prep both the sauce and meatball mixture the day before. Mix the meatball mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to one day in advance. When you’re ready, form the meat into oblong shapes, place them in an oiled baking dish, and pour the sauce over. Bake and serve. Quickly cook up some rice or orzo and heap meatballs and sauce atop them. Dinner done.

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: Yields 16 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
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For Meatballs

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toast-size, toasted to a medium-brown (or use gluten free bread if you need)
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1½ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to grease the baking dish

For Red Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 30 oz. canned tomato sauce, that’s 2, 15-oz. cans of sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, place the toasted bread and cover with milk (or water) to soak. When bread is soft and well-soaked, squeeze the liquid out completely and discard remaining milk if any.
  2. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl. Add round beef and remaining meatball ingredients. Knead well until well-combined. Cover the meat mixture and rest in the fridge for now.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. While oven is heating, prepare the sauce. In a sauce pan or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring regularly.
  5. Now add red wine and cook to reduce by about ½, then add tomato sauce, bay leaf and remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Prepare a large baking dish and lightly oil the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Take the meat mixture out of the fridge. Wet your hands and scoop portions of about 2 ½ tablespoons of the meat mixture and form into large elongated meatballs (football-shaped). You should have 12 to 16 meatballs or so. Arrange meatballs in the papered baking dish and top with the sauce. Be sure to have removed the bay leaf from the sauce.
  8. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meatballs are well cooked through. Check part-way through to make sure sauce is not dry, and if needed, add a little bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Remove from oven and add another drizzle of EVOO. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or orzo.

Adapted recipe from Suzy Karadsheh