It’s Turkey Time!!!!

 

Almost a Turkey

Soon, we’ll all be sitting around a table with our families and loved ones.  Hopefully even both. But the big star of the day, unless you’re partial to tofurky, is the turkey.  If you were to ask 10 people for their favorite ways of preparing their bird, you’ll easily get 15 different recipes and techniques.  And they’ll all probably work out just fine.  This includes brining, deep frying, roasting, stuffing, massaging, etc.  So what are some hints that will help you make a terrific turkey, regardless of your preparation and techniques?  Here are just a few:

  • You don’t have to put the stuffing in the bird.  If you do cook it outside the bird, then it (the bird!) will cook faster
  • Don’t rely on the white plastic pop-up thermometer that comes with the turkey.  My unsubstantiated theory is that the bird will be overcooked if you wait for the thingee to pop-up.  Just use an instant-read thermometer to see when the bird is done.  And, that temperature should be 165° when you check it at the thickest part of the thigh
  • What happens if you’re carving the turkey, and the dark meat (usually the thigh) is still a bit pink?  Finish carving the turkey, and put the undercooked parts in the oven, at 350° for 10 minutes or so, until they’re cooked through.
  • As a general rule, roast the turkey at 325° for approximately 15 minutes per pound (the bird’s weight, not yours). This may vary, so keep your eye (and a thermometer) on the bird.  Of course, if you’re deep frying the bird, you can skip this roasting advice.
  • You don’t have to cook even a large turkey for more than 5 hours. Anything more than that will just mean you’ll have a dried-out bird.
  • If you want to watch a great video on how to carve a turkey, then here’s where you want to be…

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

Black Bean and Salsa Lasagna

Black Bean and Salsa Lasagna

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

2 15 oz cans black beans, drained

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rinsed and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

salt

Tabasco (or your favorite semi-hot sauce)

2 16 oz jars salsa (mild or medium spicy, your choice)

1 28 oz can chopped or whole tomatoes

8 oz light cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

8 oz part-skim mozzarella, grated

9” x 13” pan (supermarket disposable lasagna pans work well too).

Preheat the oven to 375°

  1. In a large saucepan, over a medium heat, sauté the garlic for 20-30 seconds.  Add the black beans, and bring to a simmer.  Add the cilantro, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and Tabasco.  You don’t want the beans too spicy.  Just with a mild bite to them.
  2. Set the beans aside to cool (although you can do the following steps with warm beans).
  3. In a separate bowl from the beans, combine the salsa and tomatoes.
  4. Put approximately 1/3 of the bean mixture into pan. On top of the beans, place three (or four, depending on how many are in the box, and how many fit in the pan) lasagna noodles.  Layer on the noodles almost* 1/3 of the tomato/salsa mixture,* almost 1/3 of the cheese, and 1/3 of the beans.
  5. Repeat twice more. Over the top pieces of lasagna noodles, spread the remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with cheese.
  6. Bake, covered w/foil, for 30 mins.  Remove foil, and bake 10-20 mins more, or until the pasta is cooked through, and everything is bubbly.

  • NOTE: The key is to reserve approximately 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture, and 1/2 cup of cheese to place on top.

Gluten-Free Note: Gluten-free lasagna noodles (even the no-boil type) work well with this recipe