Category Archives: turkey

Super Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries

Instructions:

Heat apple juice in a medium saucepan until boiling (don’t add water, just use the frozen juice straight from the can).  Sort out any bad cranberries, then add the entire bag to the boiling apple juice.  Stir.  Reduce heat to Medium.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries “pop” and their innards burst out into the juice.  Turn off heat.  Press any unpopped cranberries against side of saucepan to squeeze out their insides.  Stir thoroughly.  Place in refrigerator for several hours.  The sauce will thicken as it cools.  It’s best to make this the day before to make sure it has plenty of time to cool and thicken.

Easy peasy.  And so yummy!  (And healthy, too!)

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Top Ten Tips to Building a Better Burger

Summer’s almost here and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already made that annual trip to the store to refill the propane tank on your backyard grill.

One thing I often hear from guests is that my barbequed burgers actually taste good … rather than just being hard and dry as hockey pucks like so many of those traditional family reunion barbequed hamburgers we’ve all endured from time to time.

In honor of the hallowed summertime tradition of outdoor cooking, here are some of my favorite tips for finding your way to Hamburger Heaven in your own backyard.

1.) Don’t build your burger from low fat meat.  Get a package of ground beef with an 80/20 or even a 70/30 ratio of meat to fat.  The fat keeps it moist and flavorful and drains off during the cooking process so the calorie count ultimately isn’t much higher than the lower fat varieties … but the flavor is so much better.  Be aware, though, that the higher the fat content in your meat, the more the patty will shrink while cooking.  So plan accordingly.

2.) For additional flavor, try mixing ground beef with other ground meats like pork, sausage or lamb.  A good ratio is two parts beef to one part other meat.  Also, if you use ground turkey to save money, keep in mind that turkey is probably one of the least stable burger materials you can find, so mix it 50/50 with ground beef to keep those burgers in one piece on the grill.

3.) When forming burgers, mix the ingredients together gently, handle your burger patties as little as possible, and don’t fully compress the meat … remember, you’re not making meatloaf or meatballs.  If you form the raw beef into patties with wet hands, the grease won’t stick to your skin nearly as much.

4.) If you like adding extra things to your ground beef before making patties, make sure to keep the pieces small.  Large chunks of onion or garlic make the patty unstable and more apt to fall apart while cooking.  Be sure to finely chop or grate all added veggies.

5.) Some particularly tasty additions to the burger mix are: freshly ground pepper, minced garlic, finely chopped onion, Worcestershire sauce, grated carrot, crushed vinegar & salt potato chips, or soy sauce.  I’ve discovered that burger purists tend to insist on top-of-the-line ground beef (Sirloin) with nothing added but salt and pepper (after grilling).  Honestly, I love a good, pure burger … but sometimes it’s fun to add the extras for variety. Also, if you add steak sauce or applesauce to your burger patties, try mixing in some dry bread crumbs, quick-cooking oats, or beaten eggs to help stabilize the burgers.

6.) Cook over a medium flame rather than a high one.  You want to cook the patties just slow enough to cook all the way through.  You don’t want them charred on the outside and a raw mess on the inside.

7.) Don’t press down on the cooking burger patties with your spatula or flip the burger using tongs that squeeze the burger.  You’ll just be squeezing out all the delicious juiciness and leaving behind a much dryer and tougher finished product.  Make an indentation with your thumb in the center of each burger before cooking to help keep them flat without squishing them under the spatula.

8.) Never — I repeat, “Never!” — poke your cooking burger patties with a fork or other pointy object.  It’s a guaranteed trip to Hockey Puck Hamburger Land when all those delicious juices pour out through that hole.

9.) The less you move the burgers around on the grill, the better looking the grill marks.  Ideally, you only want to turn the burger once, but be sure to focus on safety and full cooking more than making the prettiest burgers on the block.  You’ll hear mixed messages from burger aficionados about what temperature to cook the burgers and how often to flip them, but I tend to not worry about the perfect grill marks and have found that frequent flipping tends to keep the juices in the burger a bit better.

10.) Let the burgers rest for a minute or two before serving to give a chance for the juices to settle.  Serving too soon may cause the burgers to dry out.  Rather than melting cheese onto the burgers during the grilling process, I like to set the cheese slices on top of the finished burgers while they’re “resting.”  The cheese melts without dripping off the burger onto the grill.  When the cheese is done melting, the burgers are done resting and ready to serve.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
–Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer and mother of three) is the author of several popular books including Frugal Living For Dummies(R) and Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month. To subscribe to her free email newsletter, Simple Times, send an email to: subscribe-simple-times@hub.thedollarstretcher.com

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Mix-n-Match Skillet Meals

513kC5rETPLThis is a great recipe to keep on hand for using up your various dinner leftovers (ham, turkey, veggies, rice, etc.).

I actually keep a copy of this taped to the inside of my pantry door at all times. It’s not only easy, it also saves money by allowing you to choose ingredients already on hand without a last minute dash to the store for some forgotten item.

This recipe is adapted from my book, Mix & Match Recipes: Creative Ideas for Busy Kitchens.


Mix-n-Match Skillet Meals

Choose one (1) food from each of the following groups:

Breads and Cereals (1 cup raw)

  • Macaroni

  • Spaghetti

  • Rice (white or brown)

  • Noodles

  • Bulgar

  • Any pasta

Sauce (1 can soup plus 1.5 cans milk, broth or water)

  • Cream of Mushroom

  • Cream of Celery

  • Cream of Chicken

  • Cream of Potato

  • Tomato Soup

  • French Onion Soup

Protein (1 pound or 1 cup cooked)

  • Chopped beef

  • Chopped pork or ham

  • Ground beef or turkey

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Tuna

  • Salmon

  • Mackerel

  • Cooked dry beans

  • Frankfurters

  • Keilbasa

 

Vegetables (1.5 to 2 cups canned, cooked or raw)

  • Carrots

  • Peas

  • Corn

  • Green beans

  • Lima beans

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Mixed vegetables

  • Celery

  • Green Pepper

  • Whatever you have around

1/2 to 1 cup cheese (any kind) can be stirred into sauce at the end of the cooking time.

  1. Choose one food from each of the four groups above.

  2. Stir together in skillet.

  3. Season to taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce, onion flakes, garlic, or whatever spices you enjoy.

  4. Bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

  6. Cover pan and simmer 30 minutes until pasta or rice is tender.

  7. Stir occasionaly to prevent rice and pasta from sticking.

  8. Stir in cheese, if desired.

  9. Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

To Bake in Oven: Mix all ingredients in casserole dish and cover tightly; bake at 350 F for one hour.

~Debi

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