Category Archives: sage

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy


I know today is supposed to be Tinsel Tuesday, but I had several of my Facebook followers ask for this recipe when they found out I was making it yesterday. This year I am trying to get as many things done ahead of time so I am not in a time crunch on Thanksgiving day. I am entertaining my son’s girlfriend’s family, so there will be anywhere from 10 to 15 people here at the house. Small kitchen + lots of people = I need to try to de-stress as much as possible! I have a 26 pound bird to cook so that has me stressed out enough!
The whole time I was cooking up this gravy Kevin kept saying “Wow it smells good in here” and it did. It smelled like Thanksgiving in my kitchen! Talk about  making you hungry? I wanted my turkey right then and there. That is the downside of make ahead gravy. This recipe takes a bit of time but creates such a rich flavorful gravy it is worth it!! Kevin and I were dipping bread in the remnants at the bottom of the pot!! I think we could have easily made that dinner had there been much more in the pan (the gravy in the rubbermaid container was off limits!).

The recipe I use makes about 8 cups of gravy total. You could cut it in half, but I seriously doubt you will have to worry about leftovers!!
Make Ahead Gravy
4 pounds turkey wings (can substitute chicken wings)
2 onions, quartered
6 carrots, cut in large chunks
6 stalks of celery, cut in large chunks
1 bottle dry white wine (I use Chardonnay)
2 quarts chicken stock (plus more if needed)
10 fresh sage leaves
9 cups water
3/4 cup corn starch
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the wings, onion, carrots, and celery in a roasting pan and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the wings are a deep golden brown. Remove the wings and veggies from the roaster and place them in a large soup pot   or dutch oven (8 quarts or  more) along with 2 quart of stock, 8 cups of water, and the sage leaves. 
Place the roasting pan on the stove top and heat over high heat. Add the wine and using a wooden spoon scrap up any browned bits that are on the bottom. Continue cooking until the wine cooks down to 1 cup of liquid. Add the wine to the pot with the wings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours uncovered.
Strain the broth into a large bowl, discard solids and skim any fat from the top. If broth is less than 8 cups add enough stock to bring it up to 8 cups. If it is more than 8 cups, return to soup pot and heat until reduced to 8 cups.
Bring the broth to a boil. Meanwhile whisk corn starch into the last cup of water. Whisk into boiling broth. Cook until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool and store in plastic container. You should have approx 7 cups of gravy. Refrigerate up to 5 days.
On the day you want to serve the gravy. Add the gravy to a large pot to reheat it. Add the strained drippings from the turkey and additional stock if needed to thin the gravy.  

Pork Pot Roast with Sweet Pepper Sauce


With the holidays, my father’s passing, and my daughter leaving to go off to school, I haven’t been on the ball like usual with my planning meals and cooking. It seems like forever since I posted a Rachael Ray Wednesday recipe or a Food Star Friday. So yesterday, as I was scanning my email, I read one from my subscription to the Rachael Ray Show mailing. It was for a pork roast. BING the light bulb went of in my head…I have a pork roast in my freezer!!

Yay I found a recipe for my Rachael Ray Wednesday post!! All I needed were the peppers and I was good to go. So I asked Kevin to pick peppers up for me on the way home from work. It was funny how excited I was to make this meal. Like I said I am easily amused at times and it was a nice feeling to be so happy about cooking again.

Once I got down to the business of cooking I started to realize that I wanted to change a few things up in the recipe (of course) so this isn’t Rachael’s recipe as it was written. I am sure it would have been fantastic without the changes, but I can tell you that with the changes I made it was so good! My kitchen smelled amazing, the kids kept asking when dinner was going to be done because it smelled so good. It took 40 minutes to cook so Kevin and I went in the hot tub while we were waiting. The fan for the stove blows right out by the hot tub and we were both watching the timer because it was making our tummies rumble.

Once the roast was out and sliced I had people hovering around waiting for me to take pictures so they could dive in. Having a food blogger in the house can be a pain at times. I think this would have made wonderful leftovers but it never made it that far. The plate was clear in about 15 minutes! There was left over pepper sauce so Kevin sliced up some sausage and mixed it in to have a lunch for today. The pepper sauce is fantastic over rice too.

Pork Pot Roast with Sweet Pepper Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 boneless pork loin end roast (approx 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
3 large sweet bell peppers, preferably red, orange, and yellow, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4 leaves of fresh sage
1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons hot water (maybe a bit more)
In a large heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Salt and pepper the roast and brown it on all sides. Transfer the roast to a plate.
Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and add in the peppers, onions, garlic, and sage, season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, chicken stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, add the pork and cook over medium-low to low heat for 40 minutes, or until an internal thermometer reaches 145 degrees. Turn the roast once during the cooking time.
Remove the roast and place it on a plate, cover with foil to keep it warm. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the flour and hot water until it reaches a smooth paste. Add the flour paste to the peppers sauce and increase the heat to a low boil. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with sliced roast.
Serves 4

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Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Sage Compound Butter


With Thanksgiving  past and Christmas on the horizon I was a bit shocked when Kevin suggested we make a turkey this week. We were just wandering around the grocery store picking up a few items when we stumbled upon the turkeys and they were on sale. He looked at me and said, “Do you want to make a turkey?”. I don’t know why it seemed strange to me at first to make a turkey at any other time of year besides the holidays, but the foodie in me kicked in and my response was “Heck ya!”. I knew it would give me the opportunity to try a new way of roasting my turkey.

I have to admit to the fact that, even though I am adventurous in writing new recipes and changing up old ones, I have never altered the way I make my turkey. It is the same way my grandfather and my mother made it. I guess it just seemed like a tradition (or laziness….let’s go with tradition though because it sounds better).

I was watching the show The Chew and they had one episode where all of the stars made their own version of roasted turkey. All of them sounded wonderful but one of them used a compound butter and that set off the light bulb in my head. A while back I made a chicken with compound butter up under the skin and it was fabulous! I have no idea why I never connected that wonderful experience with a turkey. I mean really? A turkey is just a big chicken right? OK, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a try.

Oh, one of the best parts about this recipe? No basting!! The butter bastes the turkey and crisps the skin.

OK I know this isn’t a turkey picture but I just wanted say Merry Christmas to everyone!
Now on to the grub….
Mix your butter, sage, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Get your turkey all washed up, patted dry, and nestled into it’s roaster bed. Season the inside and outside with salt and pepper.
Place your pierced lemons and sage leaves inside the cavity.
Gently loosen the skin and spread the compound butter underneath it, I used my hands (sorry no photos of that but I was all alone with no camera man). Reserve a bit of the compound butter to rub on the outside of the turkey.
The result? A golden brown turkey with soooo much flavor!
Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Sage Compound Butter
12-16 pound turkey, thawed 
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
5 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
10 whole fresh sage leaves
3 lemons, one zested, one half juiced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
Juice of half a lemon
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven.

Let turkey come to room temperature. Remove the neck and giblets, reserve to make turkey broth. Drain the turkey and pat it dry inside and out.

Meanwhile, make the compound butter.  In a large bowl, combine room temperature butter, shallot, garlic, minced sage, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Stir together.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the turkey in a roaster with a rack. Season the inside of the turkey with salt & pepper to taste. Puncture two lemons with a knife and stuff inside the turkey along with fresh sage. Carefully loosen the turkey skin and spread the compound butter underneath it, reserving a bit of the butter to coat the outside of the turkey with. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper if needed.

Roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F and continue to cook the bird until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg/thigh joint reads 165 degrees F.

Remove turkey from oven and cover with tin foil. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

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Big Beef Balls with Bucatini


I chose this recipe because Kevin’s daughter was coming for dinner and she had told me she like spaghetti. I was excited to find something that I could cook that would not only make her happy, but also be from the “365 No Repeats” book. Unfortunately she didn’t make it for dinner, but we liked what we had.

Sometimes the ingredients that Rachael puts in her recipes drive me crazy. I know she says that she lives in a small town and her store carries these things but my stores a lot of the time DON’T, and that makes me nuts. I mean nuttier than I already am. The one in this recipe was the bucatini pasta. I had seen her use this pasta on 30 Minute Meals and thought it would be interesting however, I hadn’t been able to find pappardelle pasta anywhere until just recently. I was determined to not be negative about the hunt for this elusive pasta and off I went into the gray skies and drizzle to complete my quest.

As I began to scour the pasta isle of the store, I started getting more and more depressed thinking I was not going to be able to find a major part of this meal (I mean it is in the name of the recipe for God’s sake!) I had to be able to find this pasta! Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a pasta that looked like spaghetti but much thicker. Ok I knew bucatini is this hollow spaghetti so I snatched up the bag like it was a pot of gold. Much to my dismay, when I turned the package over the pasta was called perciatelli. My smile fell and my frustration grew. I must have gone through every single type of pasta they had at the store, and was just about to give up and buy regular spaghetti and issue my apologies when a light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed my trusty iPhone and jumped on Google. I did a search for perciatelle pasta and the very first one said perciatelli a fun spaghetti like noodle with a tiny hole running through it YAY!!! DING DING DING I found it. After I did my little happy dance, and the lady down the isle looked at me like I shouldn’t be drinking this early in the day. I purchased my little treasure and away we went, home to make a wonderful meal with this exciting new treat. I know it is crazy that I am this excited about pasta right? I need to get out more.

I followed this recipe very closely. I think that the meatballs need another egg or less bread crumbs because mine had a hard time staying together. They also need to cook longer in the oven. I cooked mine for the exact amount of time the recipe said and they were not cooked all the way through. My answer to that was to place them in with the sauce and cover the pot so they could finish cooking that way. It didn’t help the problem of them not staying in one piece, in fact it probably added to the problem, but they were nicely cooked and took on a lot of the sauce, which we all really liked. All in all we felt it was very tasty. The bucatini pasta was fun. We all acted like little kids slurping sauce through the noodles. I like any recipe that makes you have fun!

I really need to get some different plates, the plain white is getting boring for all of the pictures. Although it does make the food the focus, so we will see.

Big Beef Balls with Bucatini

  • coarse salt
  • 1 pound bucatini (thick hollow spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground  beef
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs ( a couple of overflowing handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at the table
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano variety if available
  • 1/2 fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 12 cremini (baby portabello) mushrooms caps, chopped
  • 1/2 beef stock


Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook onions in 1 tablespoon of the EVOO for 5 minutes. Remove the onions and set them aside to cool.  In a large bowl, mix the meat with half of the onions, 3 cloves of the chopped garlic, the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, allspice, capers, sage, a handful of chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a healthy drizzle of EVOO. Score the meat into 4 sections and make three very large balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes until firm, but not hard.

Add salt to the boiling water and drop the bucatini in, cook to al dente. Drain the pasta.

While the pasta and meatballs are cooking, heat another tablespoon of the EVOO in the skillet in which the onions were cooked. Add the pancetta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the remaining garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the remaining onions back and deglaze the pan with the red wine, cook for 1 minute, add the beef stock, and whisk up any brown bits. Stir in the tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining parsley. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss the pasta with half of the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the remaining sauce, turning to coat. Serve 3 meatballs per person alongside the pasta. Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serve with a green salad.

Serves 4
Ground Beef on Foodista

Food Star Friday – Turkey Saltimbocca Roll-Ups, Mushroom and White Bean Ragout, and Spinach with Pancetta and Onions


WOW!! That is a mouthful! When I first read this recipe I had to double check to make sure that I was reading the right one. This just seemed like a very difficult, loooooooooong recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it sounded awesome, but it just looked very difficult. True it does seem to be the most complex Rachael recipe I have done of so far. But the work sure pays off in the end. Plus I have the world’s greatest sous chef/boyfriend (thank Goodness!!).

Like I said, this is a long recipe, so don’t let the length of it, or amount of pans you will have going at once, scare you off. I was really quite proud of myself once I got it going. My nerves gave way and then I was just downright excited to get it done and in my belly!

Kevin and I prepped everything before hand, so I really didn’t cook the “Rachael way” for this one. I just figured if all of the prep work was done BEFORE I started cooking I would be less stressed out about getting everything in the right pan at the right time.

Again a recipe that called for turkey cutlets, and again not a turkey cutlet to be found in the whole town. Luckily for me the store had some HUGE chicken  breasts on sale. I needed 12 cutlets, so I grabbed 3 of the gigantic breasts and tracked down my friendly butcher to get them sliced into 4 cutlets each.

Once I got them home it was really easy to pound them out for the roll-ups. I will admit that I doubled up on the prosciutto for each roll-ups. I just like that saltiness it adds and since there is no cheese I figured a little more wouldn’t hurt. I have a huge sage plant in my backyard, so I was able to get some nice large sage leaves to put into the roll-ups. I really wanted to make sure there was a bit of sage in each bite and sometimes the sage leaves in the store bought packages can be a bit wimpy.

After we got all of the roll-ups completed and seasoned we set them aside so we could get everything else prepped. That really didn’t take very long, not as long as I thought it would after looking at the recipe, so we were in business and ready to rock and roll. We followed the timing on the recipe pretty close so everything came out yummy and warm ready to be eaten at the same time, which was my big fear. The only thing I did different was to leave the ragout over low heat while I finished the roll-ups and cooked the spinach.

Everyone LOVED this one. It was not only tasty but the roll-ups were really pretty. The cutlets were juicy and the gravy was soooo yummy. I am surprised however that anyone else got any of the mushroom and white bean ragout because I was nibbling away at it while it cooked. One of the perks about being the chef!

So with all of the votes in I really think this is one you should give a try. It is a nice meal to make when you have a couple friends over. One that will make them think you are so fancy and slaved away cooking, but it is our secret that you didn’t.

see how pretty they look
my fave white wine vinegar
Turkey (Chicken) Saltimbocca Roll-Ups, Mushroom and White Bean Ragout, and Spinach with Pancetta and Onions.


12 turkey (chicken) cutlets
6 slices of prosciutto de Parma, cut in half
12 whole fresh sage leaves plus 2 tablespoons chopped sage
4 tablespoons EVOO plus more for drizzling
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans
2 tablespoons wine vinegar, white or red
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 dry white wine (eyeball it)
1/8 pound (3 slices) pancetta, chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound triple washed spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped ( I used baby spinach)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg, (eyeball it)
Using a meat mallet or heavy, small skillet, ound the turkey between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap to 1/8 inch thickness. Top each turkey cutlet with a half slice of prosciutto and a whole sage leaf. Roll up the cutlets and drizle them with EVOO, then season with salt and pepper, and poultry seasoning. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, once around the pan. Arrange the roll-ups seam side down and cook for 6 minutes, then turn and cook for 6  minutes more.
While the turkey cooks, make the mushroom and white bean ragout. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of EVOO, twice around the pan, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes to deepen the color. Stir in the beans and season up the mixture with salt and pepper. When the beans heat through, in a minute or two, add the vinegar and stor, then add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Turn off heat.
After the turkey roll-ups have cooked on both sides, transfer toa platter and reserve. Add the butter to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Whisk in the wine and cook it for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups chicken stock to make the gravy. Add the remaining chopped sage, then season with salt and pepper. Slide the roll-ups back into the gravy and simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
For the spinach, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO, once around the pan, then the chopped pancetta. Brown the pancetta for 1 minute, then add the onions and cook together for 5 minutes, or until they are just tender and the pancetta bits are crisp. Add the spinach to the pan and turn to wilt it while combining with the onions. Season spinach with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Serve 3 roll-ups in gravy with a portion of the ragout and the spinach alongside.
Serve 4