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Southern Roast Turkey and Gravy

Buttering and salting the turkey 1 to 2 days before roasting seasons the bird inside and out without the fuss of wet brining. Be sure to let the bird warm up at room temperature before roasting so it cooks up juicy and tender.
For the turkey

1 16-lb. fresh turkey, neck, tail, and giblets reserved for the gravy
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. paprika (hot or sweet)
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
4 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. celery seed

For the gravy

1 small yellow onion, quartered
2 medium stalks celery, halved crosswise
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 bay leaves
2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information
Butter and salt the turkey

Line a 12×16-inch heavy-duty roasting pan with 2 layers of paper towels. Blot the turkey dry inside and out.
In a small bowl, combine the butter with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper; stir in the paprika, thyme, garlic, cayenne, and celery seed. Set aside 1/4 cup of the butter mixture for making the gravy.
Slide your hand under the turkey’s skin to loosen it from the breast and thigh meat. Using your fingers, spread the butter directly on the breast and thigh meat, being careful not to tear the skin. Season the turkey inside and out with 1-1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Tuck the wings behind the neck and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Set the turkey breast side up in the prepared pan. Loosely cover with waxed paper or parchment and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

Make the broth for the gravy

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the turkey neck, tail, giblets (excluding the liver), onion, and celery with the oil; arrange in a single layer. Roast, stirring once, until well browned, about 40 minutes.
Transfer the roasted ingredients to a heavy-duty 5-quart pot. Pour 1 cup of the chicken broth onto the hot baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spatula; transfer to the pot. Add the remaining broth and 1 quart water. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer gently until reduced to 3 cups, about 1-1/2 hours. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a 2-quart measuring cup; discard the solids.

Roast the turkey

Uncover the turkey, discard the paper towels, and set the turkey on a V-rack in the roasting pan. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Roast the turkey, basting occasionally after 1 hour and rotating the pan halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. If the skin gets too dark during roasting, tent with foil.
Tilt the turkey so the juice in the cavity runs into the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a platter or carving board. Remove the string, tent with foil, and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving and serving.

Make the gravy

Pour the drippings from the turkey roasting pan into a fat separator and allow the fat to rise to the top. Transfer 1/4 cup of the fat to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan; discard the remaining fat and add the defatted drippings to the reserved broth in the measuring cup.
Add the wine and bay leaves to the roasting pan and boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve set over the measuring cup of broth.
Add the reserved butter to the fat in the saucepan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth mixture and bring to a boil; then turn the heat down and simmer vigorously, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is reduced to 4 cups, 8 to 16 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carve the turkey and serve with the hot gravy.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce


2/3 cup sugar 133g (133g)
⅓ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed (67g)
1/3 cup water (78ml)
⅔ cup orange juice (157 ml)
12 oz cranberries rinsed and picked through -- bad/bruised cranberries removed (340g)


Combine sugars, water, and orange juice in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugars are dissolved, and bring to a boil.

Add cranberries and return to a boil. , reduce heat cook 10-15 minutes until berries have popped (careful, there’s some splatter) and mixture slightly reduced

Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook cranberries, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes or until all or most berries have burst (careful, there is some splatter) and the mixture is slightly reduced. The longer you cook your cranberries the thicker your mixture will be, but it will also thicken up after standing.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Cranberry sauce can be prepared up to 3 days in advance; keep refrigerated in a covered container.

Cornbread Stuffing Southern Style

Original recipe makes 10 servings

2 (8.5 ounce) packages dry corn muffin mix

1 (8 ounce) can cream-style corn

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 celery, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl combine muffin mix, corn, eggs, yogurt and milk; stir just until moistened. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, celery, green pepper and garlic. When onions are tender stir in thyme, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne and broth. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
Crumble the cornbread and stir into broth mixture; mix well. Add more broth or more bread, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.

Southern Deviled Eggs

Original recipe makes 16 deviled egg halves
8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

1 pinch ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon paprika for garnish

Scoop yolks from egg halves into a bowl. Mash the yolks with mayonnaise, yellow mustard, spicy brown mustard, black pepper, white vinegar, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk until the mixture is smooth. Spoon yolk filling into egg halves and sprinkle each deviled egg with paprika.

Green Bean Casserole

2 pounds fresh green beans, ends cut off
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 whole large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk, plus extra for thinning if needed
1/2 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 cup panko breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the green beans in half if you like the pieces to be a little smaller. Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow the green beans to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the beans once they're cool and set aside.

Add the bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon for 2 minutes, and then add the peppers, garlic and onions, and continue cooking until the bacon is done (but not crisp) and the onions are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or 2, and then pour in the milk and half-and-half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, some black pepper and the cayenne, and then add the grated cheese. Stir while the cheese melts. Turn off the heat.

Add the bacon/onion mixture and stir to combine. Add the green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with the panko. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the panko is golden, about 30 minutes.

Homemade Drop Biscuits


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 to 3 tablespoons sugar (depending upon how sweet you like them)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup melted butter
1 cup milk (whole milk preferred)


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Add melted butter and milk. Stir just until moistened.(Best to let melted butter cool a bit before adding)
Immediately drop by heaping tablespoons (15 biscuits) onto lightly greased or parchment paper/silicone baking sheet lined large cookie sheet.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges turn golden brown.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes


3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes 2 teaspoons salt, divided 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup half-and-half 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

How to Make It
Step 1

Peel, Boil & Drain. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Bring potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and cold water to cover to a boil in a medium-size Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 16 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender; drain.
Step 2

Add Creamy Richness. Return potatoes to Dutch oven. Cook until water evaporates and potatoes look dry. Mound potatoes on 1 side; add butter, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt to opposite side of Dutch oven. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture boils.
Step 3

Beat Until Smooth. Remove from heat; beat at medium speed with a hand-held electric mixer 30 seconds to 1 minute or to desired degree of smoothness. (Do not overbeat.) Serve immediately.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

40 oz can of sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter or margarine (melted)
2/3 cup Dark Karo Corn Syrup or molasses
2 tbsp. water
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
Drain the potatoes and place in a single layer in a baking dish.

Combine the remaining items and pour over potatoes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour.

Check after 30 minutes, turning to glaze or spooning sauce over the top. The longer it bakes, the more caramelized the potatoes become.

Macaroni and Cheese


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups elbow macaroni
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1/3 cup skim milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (8-ounce) packages extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Paprika, for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, and return to pot. Add butter, and toss until pasta is coated and butter has melted; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, skim milk, and eggs. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine cheeses; set aside.
3. Place 1/3 macaroni in an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish; cover evenly with 1/3 cheese. Repeat with remaining macaroni and cheese mixture. Pour milk mixture evenly over contents of baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until top layer is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Potato Rolls


2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1-1/3 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
1 cup warm mashed potatoes (without added milk and butter)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 large eggs
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2/3 cup warm water. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt, remaining 2/3 cup water, yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Do not knead. Shape into a ball; place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough; divide into thirds. Divide and shape one portion into 15 balls; place in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake rolls until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie
Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie is the best homemade pie that is a must-make for Thanksgiving and the holidays. It comes out creamy and perfect every time!


1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie shell or (2) regular-sized pie shells
2 tbsp real butter melted
1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup sour cream
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla extract


If you are using a frozen pie crust, you may need to partially bake it first. Check the back of the package for instructions.
Most frozen crusts just require that you to sit it out on the counter for about 10 minutes before putting any filling into it.
Or, if you are using my Wham Bam Pie Crust, just make sure you prick the inside of the crust all around with a fork, then pop it into the fridge to chill while making the filling.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree together until combined.
Add in eggs, heavy cream, sour cream, spices, and vanilla.
Mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter into the pie shell, taking care not to overfill. You will have some batter left over.
Also, to keep pie edges from getting too dark, wrap edge of crust in aluminum foil.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 40-50 minutes.
Cool to room temperature for 2-3 hours (to allow the pie to finish setting up) then serve with whipped cream.
Old-fashioned Apple Dumplings
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup shortening, at room temperature
1/3 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
½ cup milk or reduced-fat or skim milk


6 medium apples, (Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, or other tart baking apples)
(about 2 pounds) peeled and cored, or peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
¼ cup lemon juice, divided
½ cup granulated sugar or the equivalent of ½ cup sugar in granulated sugar substitute
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed, or the equivalent of ½ cup brown sugar in granulated sugar substitute
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature, divided
Milk or light cream or half-and-half as needed
Additional granulated sugar for garnish
Vanilla Sauce or Caramel Sauce as desired (optional)
Cream, or sweetened flavored whipped cream, or vanilla or French vanilla ice cream for garnish (optional)

To prepare crust, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter with a pastry blender or two tables knives until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Knead 10 to 12 strokes on a lightly floured flat surface. Roll out dough into a 14 x 21-inch rectangle. With a fluted pastry or pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into six 7-inch squares.

To prepare filling, prepare apples and sprinkle 2 teaspoons lemon juice immediately over each whole apple or ¼ cup juice over apple slices, coating each slice well. In a small bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mixing well. Arrange a whole apple in the center of each pastry square, or divide apples evenly on pastry squares. Sprinkle an equal amount of sugar mixture over each apple or apples. Dot each with 1½ teaspoons butter. Moisten edges of pastry. Bring four corners of pastry together over center of each pastry packet and seal edges completely with the fingers or the tines of a fork. Arrange dumplings in a shallow baking dish, brush with milk or cream and sprinkle with a small amount of granulated sugar.

Bake in a preheated moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 35 to 40 minutes for sliced apples and 50 to 60 minutes for whole apples, or until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender. If pastries start to become too brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or garnished with Vanilla Sauce or Caramel Sauce or cream or sweetened flavored whipped cream or vanilla or French vanilla ice cream as desired.


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