Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 shakes Tabasco Sauce

2 pounds flank steak

Combine all of the ingredients, except the steak.  Then add the steak, and marinate for two-eight hours in a non-reactive pan.

To cook: Grill, broil, or pan-fry (in a cast iron skillet, if possible) over a medium-high to high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

Serves 4-5

NOTE: Flank steak is best served between rare and medium.  If it’s well done, it’ll probably be very tough and chewy.



Thanksgiving is just hours away.  I’m sure you’re completely ready.  And what could possible go wrong?  When you combine lots of food, family, perhaps a little travel, and the weight of culinary expectations, it always works out well, doesn’t it  Of course it does!

Well, on the outside chance that you’re stressed, here are a few video things that can help you.  Yesterday, on Mass Appeal, we covered the Thanksgiving basics: making cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy from the pan drippings, plus a quick turkey carving 101. And just because there’s a box of Stove Top stuffing there doesn’t mean I used it. Nooooooo! It was a prop to show that homemade stuffing is sooo easy to make.  And tastes better, too! And yes, all of the recipes are on the videos.  How easy is that?

But I also have a longer, 7 ½ minute carving video. This is a new version of my classic how-to-avoid-carving-mishaps video of a few years ago.  After you watch it, you’ll be able to carve with confidence.  My big advice is to not give in to temptation by carving your turkey at the table.  Do it in the kitchen. You’ll have more room for carving there. And you won’t risk getting your tablecloth a wee bit messy with turkey juices. Plus, everyone will be soooo impressed when you bring your beautifully cared turkey to the table!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your holidays, and beyond, are everything you want them to be!





Italian Wedding Soup

4 cups (1 quart) chicken stock
2 cups water
1 pound turkey burger
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 head escarole, cleaned and chopped

1. In a large stockpot, add the stock and water, and bring to a simmer.
2. While the stock is simmering, prepare the meatballs: combine the burger, eggs, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and basil. Roll into mini-meatballs, approximately 1+ in diameter.
3. Add the meatballs and escarole to the stock, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
4. Adjust the stock’s seasoning with salt and pepper

Yield: Approx 2 ½ quarts; approx 6-8 servings

NOTE: You can make this gluten free by skipping the breadcrumbs, or using gluten-free breadcrumbs

“Roasted” Whole Lemon Chicken in a Slow Cooker


1 4-5 pound chicken

3-4 carrots, peeled and cut in 4 pieces, length-wise

2-3 celery stalks, cut in 4 pieces, length-wise

approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper


1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 lemon, cut in half

  1. Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken.  Rinse the chicken, and dry it with paper towel to remove any excess water.
  2. Spread the carrot and celery pieces in the slow cooker.
  3. Spread olive oil over the chicken, and sprinkle throughout with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Place the cut onion into the cavity of the chicken, and place the chicken into the slow cooker.
  5. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and place the squeezed lemon halves into the slow cooker.
  6. Cover the slow cooker, and cook the chicken on low, for approximately 6 hours.


  • The timing of the cooking will vary based on your slow cooker and the size of the chicken.  It may be a bit more, or less, than 6 hours.
  • If you’d like crispy skin on the chicken after it’s cooked, put the chicken in an oven-proof pan, and place it under your oven’s broiler for 5 minutes.  Do not put it on the highest rack-level in the oven, or it might burn the chicken. Place the pan in the lower half of the oven.


Yield: 4-6 servings


Corned Beef (and cabbage!)

corned beef photo

3-5 lbs raw corned beef

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks

4 celery stalks, cut into chunks

6 cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 small pieces, crystallized ginger

1/4 teaspoon juniper berries

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon whole peppercorns

 The vegetables:

2 pounds potatoes

1 small cabbage

2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

  1. Pat the meat dry to remove any remaining bits from the brine.
  2. Place the 1st ten ingredients in a stockpot.  Cover with water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil.  Gently simmer until the beef is done, 1 1/2 – 2+ hours.  Removed the meat, and strain/skim out ALL of the remaining veg and bits.  Discard the veg and bits.
  3. Add the cabbage and carrots to the stockpot liquid used for cooking the beef, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, and simmer until all of the veg is cooked (don’t overcook the potatoes).  This might be another 8-10 minutes.
  4. Serve the whole thing together…


Makes 8-10+ servings

Mac & Cheese

If this recipe seems a bit daunting to prepare, think of it as five simple steps: boiling the pasta, grating the cheese, melting the butter and flour, adding the hot milk, and throwing everything in together. The result is a great, classic comfort food.

1 pound macaroni/elbows (or your favorite pasta)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk, heated, but not boiling

8 oz cheddar cheese, grated

1 pound muenster cheese, grated

1/4 cup (approximately) parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (a pinch)


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Set aside a 9”x13” pan.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the macaroni, following the directions on the box.  Set aside
  2. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the butter, then add the flour, and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.  It may turn brown.  That’s oaky.  Slowly whisk in the warmed milk and stir, more than occasionally, for up to ten minutes,  or at least until it’s thickened. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, add the milk mixture to the grated cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted.  Add to the cooked macaroni, and combine.
  4. Pour the macaroni mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle on the parmesan, and then the paprika.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned on top.

Makes 8-10 servings (or one MASSIVE serving…)

NOTE: For a gluten-free option, use rice flour instead of regular flour.  And substitute gluten-free noodles for the pasta.  If you’re not a big fan of gluten-free pasta, don’t worry.  The great flavor and texture of the cheese will hide any shortcomings you might find in the gluten-free pasta.

If you want to see a video of me making this on Mass Appeal, on NBC channel 22 in Springfield, check it out here with my other tv cooking appearances.


Turkey Gravy and More!


This three-part recipe will help you from the moment your turkey comes put of the oven until you’re ready to carve it. It has the gravy, the turkey stock, and removing the drippings from the pan.  One-stop gravy making!

The Gravy

¼ cup flour or cornstarch

1/2 cup water

4 cups turkey or chicken stock

pan drippings from roasted turkey, strained

deglazed drippings and stock from pan (see below)

salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour (or cornstarch) and water.  Whisk to remove any lumps, and set aside.  This is called a slurry.
  2. Place the pan drippings, deglazed bits, and 2 cups of the stock in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Taste the sauce. Add more stock, if you’d like more gravy. But don’t let the gravy become too mild in taste.
  4. As an optional step, you can strain the gravy now if you like it smooth.
  5. With the gravy at a slow simmer, add ½ of the slurry, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens.  If you’d like it thicker, add more slurry.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Other (optional) ingredients to add to your gravy:

  • 1/3 cup bourbon or white wine
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, whisked into the gravy
  • Add the cooked giblets to the gravy after it’s strained

How to make Turkey Stock from Giblets

  1. Take the giblets (neck, liver heart, and gizzards) from the turkey’s cavity, and cover them with 4-5 cups of water.
  2. Add an onion, chopped stalk of celery, and a chopped carrot.  Simmer uncovered for one hour.  If the water level goes down by more than ¼, add cold water and bring back to a simmer.
  3. After an hour, strain the stock.  You can chop up the meats from the stock and add them to your finished gravy

Removing the turkey and deglazing  

  1. Remove the turkey from the pan. Rest it on a warm platter as you make the gravy.
  2. Pour the liquid from the pan into a large bowl or heat-proof pitcher.  Remove the pan drippings that are not stuck in the pan and place these in a separate, 2 quart saucepan.  Set all of these aside.
  3. Once the liquid from the pan has cooled a bit, remove the fat from the top of the liquid, either with a spoon, or a fat-separator. Discard the fat.
  4. Once you have removed the drippings and liquid from the turkey roasting pan, there may be some bits of turkey that are stuck in the pan.  To remove them, place the pan on a burner (or two, if the pan is large enough) on a medium-high heat.  Have a wooden spoon or scraper handy.
  5. Once the pan is quite hot, and almost smoking, add ½ cup (or more, if needed) of the stock or other liquid to the pan.  You want only a small amount of liquid to just moisten the stuck bits in the pan.
  6. With the wooden spoon, scrape up the bits, and put these into a 2 quart saucepan, with the other loose bits that you removed from the roasting pan.

Scallops with Orange, Grapefruit, and Ginger

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated

1 pound scallops

salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

  1. Combine the orange and grapefruit juices, and ginger, in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and simmer (Boil actually.  A gentle simmer will take too long) until the juices are reduced by approximately 3/4, or until the sauce has thickened a bit and is noticeably darker. This could take 15 minutes or more.
  2. In a skillet, over a med-high heat, add the oil to the hot skillet, and then the scallops.  Cook/sear the scallops on one side, until they turn a golden color on the bottom, and turn them over.  Add the sauce to the pan, and continue to cook the scallops until they’re done to your liking. This might just be another minute or two.
  3. Remove the scallops from the pan, and serve.

Makes two-three servings.  Jasmine rice or couscous both go well with this dish.

NOTE:  You can also do this recipe with fresh tuna instead of scallops


Aunt Jean’s Brisket

2-4 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil (not olive oil)

2 large onions, peeled and sliced (you can’t have too much onion…)

1  2 1/2 to 4 pound brisket or chuck roast, well-trimmed of fat

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup red wine

A splash of A-1 Steak Sauce

salt and pepper

  1. In a large oven-proof skillet (such as cast-iron), over a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, and sauté the onions until they are cooked through.  Try not to let them get too browned.  A golden color is fine.  This could take 20+ minutes.  Remove from pan.
  2. Turn the heat to high. Sprinkle brisket with salt and pepper.  Add the remaining oil to the pan.  Brown the meat on all sides.  This may splatter a bit, so be careful.  Use a pair of tongs to hold the brisket up while you brown the narrow sides.
  3. Combine the next 4 ingredients, and pour over browned brisket in the pan. The liquid should come up to 1/2 or 2/3 of the way up the sides of the meat.  If it appears a bit shallow, add more red wine. Add the onions back into the pan.  Bring the liquid to a simmer.
  4. Completely cover the meat with two pieces of aluminum foil, shiny side down.  Lay the foil down so it’s laying on top of the meat AND touching the top of the liquid.  Cover the pan with a lid.  Cook for 2-3+ hours, or until the meat is very tender.


Method #1: Once the liquid has come to a simmer, reduce the heat, and simmer on the stove top for 2-3+ hours.  Make sure it is a VERY low simmer, to keep the meat from burning.

Method #2: Once the liquid has come to a simmer, place the skillet (it must be oven proof) in an oven pre-heated to 300°, and cook for 2-3+ hours.

Some hints:

  • When you slice the brisket, slice against the grain.
  • You can make this a day in advance.  This way, you can slice the brisket when it’s cold (which is easier), and skim any fat off the sauce.

Roasted Chicken

1 4-7 pound chicken, whole

1 peeled onion, whole, or cut in half

olive oil

salt, pepper, and paprika

Technique #1.  Preheat the oven to 375˚.

  1. Place the roasting pan you’ll be using, with nothing in it, in the preheated oven while you prepare the bird for cooking.  Remove the giblets from the cavity of the bird. Put the onion in the cavity, and lightly oil the bird’s skin. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and paprika.
  2. CAREFULLY remove the heated pan from the oven, and place the bird in the pan. CAREFULLY put the chicken in the oven, and cook it for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the bird is cooked through.  The internal temperature of the chicken (check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer, at the thigh) should be 170°

Technique #2. Preheat the oven to 375˚.

  1. Place a cast iron skillet, with nothing in it, and large enough to hold the chicken, into the preheated oven while you prepare the bird for cooking.  Remove the giblets from the cavity of the bird. Put the onion in the cavity, and lightly oil the birds skin. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and paprika.
  2. CAREFULLY remove the heated pan from the oven, and place the bird in the pan. CAREFULLY put the chicken in the oven, and cook it for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the bird is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken (check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer, at the thigh) should be 170°

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, for the juices to settle.

Makes 6-8 servings


  • Additional seasonings: before cooking, you can sprinkle on garlic and/or onion powder, as well as adobo seasoning
  • In addition to an onion in the cavity, you can also put in a cut-up lemon