30 November 2009

Catch Up on Funny Posts at Dennys Funny Quotes 1 Dec 2009

What'd ya say? I'm so smart? But are you sure about that?

From Denny: OK, so I've been slacking off for the holidays... :) What can I say? I've been in a "food coma"? Nice try; Thanksgiving Day was last week... My only defense would be that food comas take a long time from which to recover, uh, ok, equally lame...

This morning I've been working on Dennys Funny Quotes ever since I found out Blogger only backs up posts. Sweet. All those category lists which took hours and hours to build are basically toast so I've been creating posts of all my categories.

For a grin today take a look at what I've rounded up so far:

Funny Retirement Quotes

Funny Friendship Quotes

Funny Ironic Humor Quotes

Funny Crazy Cat Quotes

Funny Quotes About Quotations

Funny Cooking Quotes

Funny Conan OBrien Quotes

Funny Jay Leno Quotes

Funny Inspirational Quotes

*** Try not to dine too much you might end up in a funny quotes coma! Save room in your mind tummy for tomorrow's Cheeky Quote Day! :)

27 November 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas: 3 Entrees, 1 Dessert, Recipes

From Denny: Any time you serve a holiday meal there are bound to be leftovers. The first day after people don't mind the exact same meal reheated but after that it's time to put on our thinking hats and come up with something creative. With the price of food these days we can no longer afford to throw out leftovers. The Scottos are a creative restaurant family in New York City to our rescue.

The turkey croquettes are an interesting and sweet way to use up those sweet potato casserole leftovers even the kids will eat! Do you have some leftover stuffing, vegetables and mashed potatoes? Then make Sheperd's Pie casserole with a little cheese thrown in to make it different.

Do you have leftover sauteed vegetables that are still a bit crunchy? Add them to pasta with your favorite cheese. They use goat cheese here; we like Asiago or Romano in our house. I do a version of this recipe all the time when I have leftover vegetables, sometimes using gravy in the sauce too.

What I really enjoyed here was a new way to use up my cranberry chutney recipe by folding it into bread pudding! Can't wait to try that one even without the additional apples. You could probably do this with almost any leftover fruit as many people do a stewed fruit dish during holiday season.

Recipes Featured:

* Turkey sweet potato croquettes
* Italian shepherd’s pie
* Thanksgiving vegetable fettuccine
* Apple cranberry bread pudding

Turkey sweet potato croquettes

The Scottos

Serves: 6 to 8


• 1 cup cooked turkey meat, diced
• 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes
• 3 large eggs
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
• 2 cups olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, add turkey, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper, 1 beaten egg, mix thoroughly and form into oblong croquettes.

2. In a second bowl add the flour, and in a third bowl the beaten eggs, and finally in a fourth bowl add the bread crumbs.

3. Dip croquettes into flour, beaten egg mixture, then the bread crumbs, and set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and fry croquettes, turning occasionally until golden brown. Serve immediately.

5. Heat leftover turkey gravy and serve with the croquettes.

Italian shepherd’s pie

The Scottos

Serves: 6 to 8


• 4 cups leftover sausage rice and mozzarella stuffing
• 2 cups any leftover vegetables, diced
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1/2 stick butter, melted
• 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
• 4 cups leftover white mashed potatoes
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, combine stuffing and vegetables and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

2. In a large bowl, combine parmesan cheese, melted butter and bread crumbs, mix thoroughly and set aside.

3. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with mashed potatoes, then add a layer of the vegetable rice mixture, then finally add a layer of mashed potatoes and top with cheese crumb mixture.

4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes until crumb topping is golden brown and bubbling.


If there is leftover turkey, it can be added to the rice stuffing.

Thanksgiving vegetable fettuccine

The Scottos

Serves: 6 to 8


• 1 pound fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
• 1 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons finely diced garlic
• 1 cup cooked mushrooms
• 1 cup cooked string beans
• 1 cup cooked carrots
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large skillet, sauté garlic over medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Add mushrooms, string beans and carrots and quickly sauté for about 1 minute.

2. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook fettuccine, drain and add to sauté pan containing the vegetables, add butter, toss, plate and top with goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Apple cranberry bread pudding

The Scottos

6 to 8


Apple cranberry mixture

• 6 whole Granny Smith, Gala or Rome apples, peeled and cores removed,
• cut into 1/4-ince slices
• 1 stick butter, and 1/4 to grease baking dish
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce

Bread pudding

• Apple cranberry mixture
• 2 cups half and half
• 1/2 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
• 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 6 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread or brioche


Apple cranberry mixture

1. In a small sauté pan, melt the butter, add apples and sauté until apples are soft, about 5 to 8 minutes.

2. In a bowl, add the cooked apples, vanilla extract, cinnamon, maple syrup, and cranberry sauté; toss and set aside.

Bread pudding

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk half and half, light brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in apple cranberry mixture then finally fold in bread cubes. Mix thoroughly until it’s completed blended.

2. Add to 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350°F or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*** For more recipes, visit Comfort Food From Louisiana, Easy Party Foods: Short Ribs and Chicken Pot Pie, go here.

*** Thanks for visiting!

26 November 2009

5 Funny Thanksgiving Quotes, Photos

Trash-talking turkeys just passing the time until someone took them seriously... Photo by stevevoght @ flickr from another of my funny posts: 21 Funny Thanksgiving Fighting Turkey Photos

From Denny: I found some hilarious Thanksgiving Day quotes along with a few smart jokes and LOL holiday poems for this week's Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets blog. Click on the links below for the full post of funnies and the Obama Turkey Pardon Preparation Video. Here's a sampling taste to get you started on your holiday grinning, enjoy!


* If you count all your assets, you always show a profit. ~ Robert Quillen

* Here I am 5 o'clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird's butt. - Roseanne Barr

* It was dramatic to watch my grandmother decapitate a turkey with an ax the day before Thanksgiving. Nowadays the expense of hiring grandmothers for the ax work would probably qualify all turkeys so honored with 'gourmet' status. - Russell Baker

* Thanksgiving is America's national chow-down feast, the one occasion each year when gluttony becomes a patriotic duty. ~ Michael Dresser

* I love Thanksgiving turkey. It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. ~ Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

*** For more funny holiday quotes, holiday jokes and hilarious poems, the Obama funny video about his first act of turkey pardoning (wonder if it's name is Cheney???) and great holiday recipe links, check out The Social Poets and Cheeky Quote Day, go here.

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often for a grin! :)

25 November 2009

21 Funny Thanksgiving Fighting Turkey Photos

... And this is how you do the Turkey Strut to get some jealous feathers flying!

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Trash-talking turkeys just passing the time until someone took them seriously...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Hey, there! Anyone wanna rumble?

Photo by Hey Paul @ flickr

And the lone hearty tail-nipped challenger swaggers in to approach the fight...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Whoa! Hold on there, fella! I'm supposed to be first in line. That's why they call it The Pecking Order!

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

... And the yard brawl is well under way with lots of shock and awe spectators...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Are those two squaring off already? Show-offs!

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

You know they mean business to win the kickboxing championship - they pull out the spurs on the back of their feet to fight dirty...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Gotcha! Now you know who's top wing around here, mister!

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Head stomping you senseless, buddy! That'll teach you to mess with my woman...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

When you're tired all you're left with is neck chomping...

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

Yeah, we bad, we bad... we love it when we win the fights!

Photo by eye of einstein @ flickr

Last beak dance cuz it's time to kiss and make up, bird brains!

Photo by stevevoght @ flickr

See ya, time to get outta here!

Photo by Hey Paul @ flickr

Hey! We were just watching the fight as bystanders...

Photo by Hey Paul @ flickr

... And we were all getting along so well there for a while...

Photo by Hey Paul @ flickr

Whoa! Time for a pedicure before the big holiday!

Photo by Hey Paul @ flickr

I was voted Most Handsome and Most Likely to End Up on the Dinner Table, isn't that just great?

Photo by Kevin Saff @ flickr

Who says I'm a candidate for ugly.com? You says? Naw, the girls, they love me!

Photo by David Reece @ flickr

... But my two cousins in the next photo are stone cold ugly!

Photo by D'Arcy Norman @ flickr

Prez Obama pardoned me today, whew! Glad to avoid the holiday table one more year. Think I'll vacation in the Hamptons for the season...

Photo by kimjonesphotography @ flickr

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often!

24 November 2009

Pumpkin Risotto, Crispy Bread Soffritto, and Pumpkin Chile Recipes

Photo by Nesster @ flickr

From Denny: There are only so many pumpkin pies and pumpkins breads a cook can make before they are wondering if there is any greater creativity that can be done with a pumpkin. Pumpkins are such a great food resource of vitamins and minerals. Look no further as these Southern chefs have been busy creating new and tasty recipes for the revered pumpkin, raising it to the table status of vegetable royalty! :)

They were featured in Country Roads Magazine - a Louisiana regional arts, culture and cuisine magazine (no photos for their recipes).

Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Bread “Soffritto”

From: Chef Alon Shaya of Domenica Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana

Serves: 8


6 tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 cup yellow onion, diced a quarter inch thick
3 cups pumpkin, skinned and seeded, diced quarter inch thick
12 1/2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups risotto (rice), Vialone Nanno or Arborio
2 cups Castelmagno cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano is a fine substitute), grated
8 tbsp. bread Soffritto (recipe below)
Salt to taste

Place rice in a large saucepot and turn the heat on medium. Continuously stir the rice until it is very hot, but not turning brown. This will release the natural oils in the rice and give the dish much more flavor. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a different saucepot, place half of the butter, onions and half of the pumpkin and cook until onions are tender. Add vegetable stock and bring to simmer. Simmer until pumpkin is tender and purée mixture with a hand blender. Add the other half of the diced pumpkin and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until it is tender.

Place the pot with the rice back on a high heat and add half of the pumpkin infused stock. Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding one ladle of stock at a time while stirring until each addition has been absorbed and all of the stock is gone. This will take 18-20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the rice is completely cooked stir in the cheese. Keep stirring over the heat until the rice is tender with a slight al dente bite to it. Add the butter and serve with the crispy Bread Soffritto on top (recipe below).

Bread Soffritto


2 cups ciabatta bread, no crust, diced an eighth of an inch thick
¼ cup shallots, sliced thin
2 oz. dried cherries, rehydrated in warm water
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
Salt to taste


In a sauté pan, place oil, rosemary and onions on medium heat and cook until onions just begin to turn golden. Add diced bread and cook until bread is crispy. Toss mixture with salt and cherries. Remove rosemary sprig and set aside for the garnish.

Roasted Pumpkin Chile

From: Chef Regina Charboneau of Twin Oaks, Natchez, Mississippi

Serves: 8


2 tbls. olive oil
1 medium diced onion
1 medium diced sweet red pepper
2 fresh jalapenos
1 lb.yams
1 lb. pumpkin or squash
4 small new red potatoes
8 garlic cloves
2 zucchini
2 cups cooked pinto beans
2 10 oz. cans Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with diced jalapenos)
1 12 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tbls. ground chile powder
Salt and Pepper


To roast pumpkin (or squash):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut yams in half and cut pumpkin into eighths. Leave new potatoes, jalapenos and garlic cloves whole. Place on large baking sheet. Salt and pepper the tops and drizzle just a touch of olive oil on top of the pumpkin. Place in hot oven. Roast for 30 minutes then remove the Jalapenos and garlic cloves. Let cool and cut jalapeno into strips removing the seeds. Cut garlic into quarters. Continue to roast but every ten minutes, using a fork, check for doneness of vegetables. They should be firm but the fork should go through without excessive effort. Let vegetables cool. Peel the yams and pumpkin and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Leave the skin on the Potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch cubes.

To complete chile:

In 4 quart pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Dice zucchini into 3/4 inch cubes and set aside. Add diced onion and peppers to hot oil and sauté for two minutes to brown. Add diced zucchini and sauté for one minute. Add roasted vegetables, garlic and jalapenos. Add cooked pinto Beans, Rotel tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Stir in chile powder and stir well. Taste and adjust salt, begin with 1/2 teaspoon. Simmer chile for 30 minutes.

Serve Chile in shallow soup bowls, topped with sour cream. Top sour cream with Spicy Corn.

Ingredients for Spicy Corn Topping:

Makes: 3 cups

2 ears yellow corn
1 16 oz. jar Mrs. Renfrows Spicy Green Salsa or any brand you like of spicy salsa verde
Sour Cream is optional


Shuck yellow corn and remove kernels with a sharp knife. Get a cast iron skillet or sauté pan very hot. Place corn kernels into skillet and brown. Use a metal spatula to move the corn around to roast the kernels. Mix roasted corn kernels with green salsa. Serve on top of Roasted Pumpkin Chile.

*** Thanks for visiting and have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

23 November 2009

Video: Funny Oreo Cookie Obsessed Fan!

From Denny: Thanks to reader elchupaoreo from YouTube for this chuckle of the Oreo day! Check out the Oreo cookie obsession. Someone is really flying their Oreo Freak Flag today... :)

21 November 2009

Funny Editorial Cartoons 21 Nov 2009

From Denny: Every Saturday I round up the best editorial cartoons of the week. They sure do lampoon the latest news! This week women have been up in arms angry at new health care guidelines which sounded really lame. There is the controversy over bringing Gitmo terrorists onto American soil to hang 'em in the New York courts just blocks away from the still destroyed Twin Towers area. Comments about Prez Obama's trips to Japan and China, too much bowing and nice-nice for most cartoonists apparently. Plenty of cartoonists lampooning Congress about health care.

Be sure to check out the funny video of Comedy Central's Jon Stewart lampooning the Palin book tour and the GOP in general. There are real news headline links to check out about the book tour farce and how Palin has already stiffed her fans, leaving them hanging literally out in the cold for hours in the rain in Indiana. They were not happy campers at all. Well, that's what you get when your hero is a fantasy: reality face slaps.

So, hike on over to The Social Poets where I park those cartoons every week and enjoy yourself today! BTW, thanks, everyone for visiting. You have been coming by the thousands, quite the unexpected turnout for my comedy parties, thank you! I'll make sure I order more appetizers for my hungry hordes... :)

This Weeks Editorial Cartoons 21 Nov 2009

20 November 2009

6 Easy Turkey Thanksgiving Recipes and Gravy, Roasting Tips and Advice

Photo from Butterball. Note the pretty and fresh figs as garnish!

From Denny: Thanksgiving is fast approaching and there are those first time cooks who have yet to roast, brine or deep fry a turkey. With simple recipes like these your anxiety level will go down fast. These recipes are also a great resource for the experienced cook who would like to take a look at trying something different and want to compare the recipes all in one place. At the bottom of the post is a section of reminders, tips and advice to consider when roasting a turkey.

Do yourself a favor and roast or deep fry a small turkey in the size range of 10 - 12 pounds. It takes less time and tends to be moister meat. Many experienced cooks roast 2 or 3 smaller turkeys for large family gatherings during the holidays.

OK, this is the very basic of basics easy recipe to get you started on learning how to do this holiday bird. It's a savory recipe and works well for people who don't like or can tolerate a lot of spices.

Basic Recipe for Roasted Turkey

From: Everyday Food

Makes: 10 servings


1 fresh or thawed frozen whole turkey (10 to 12 lbs.)
1 stalk celery, cut in chunks
2 dried bay leaves
2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
4 tbls. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Coarse salt and ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity; set aside. Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Stuff cavity with celery, bay leaves and half the carrots and onions; tie legs with kitchen twine. Rub bird with butter; sprinkle with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

3. Scatter remaining onion quarters and carrot pieces on bottom of a large roasting pan; add turkey neck. Place turkey on a roasting rack in the pan. Cook, basting frequently after the first hour, until bird is golden brown, thigh juices run clear when pierced, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. (If skin is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

This recipe is closer to how I roast my holiday turkey every year, only I use a lot more spices and substitute either extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter to push under the skin to keep the meat moist and flavorful.

Generally, I mix up a lot of favorite spices like lots of garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, mild paprika, fresh (or dried) basil, fresh (or dried rosemary), sea salt, white pepper, chile powder (like Pasilla Negro or Chipotle Morita - can be purchased online from dagiftbasket.com out of New Mexico or use a little of your favorite), fresh parsley or coriander (dried parsley and ground coriander will do), white wine of choice - usually a sauvignon blanc for us, and some years I've even thrown in finely ground pecans, sometimes pre-roasted, sometimes just raw pecans.

All of this is mixed into a paste with just enough oil and wine to hold it together and then under the skin it goes and on top of the skin as a wet rub, even inside the cavity which I rarely put anything unless a few rough chopped onions.

Another trick for crispy skin - if you have the room in your refrigerator during this busy holiday season - is to spice rub your turkey about 1 - 2 days ahead of roasting, turn it breast side down in the pan so the juices run into the breast, leaving it uncovered for the skin to dry slightly. If you can't do this step, don't stress, you will still get crispy skin with this recipe anyway. Allowing the turkey to marinate in the wet rub just kicks up the flavor of the meat from dull to exciting in my estimation. And slightly crispier skin comes from this step in the fridge.

What makes for great turkey is just like they talk about in this recipe, start at a higher heat for about 30 - 45 minutes (will depend upon the weight of your turkey) and then turn it down for the rest of the roasting.

One extra trick I do is I start the browning process by turning the bird upside down (breast side down) to burn his butt a bit, for about 25 minutes. :) Have you ever noticed how many turkeys have unappetizing pale undersides? This process isn't necessary but it does get an overall browning effect.

Be sure to own a couple of large forks to help you turn the turkey back right side up. It will have some depressed markings at first from the roasting rack because the juices ran into the breast area while upside down. Trust that by the time the turkey is done, properly browned on top, those marks will have disappeared. This upside down process is good for sending those juices into the breast area and then tightening the skin to hold them before turning right side up, exposing the breast to the greater heated space of the oven.

A Roast Turkey

From: November 2003 issue of Food & Wine magazine

Serves: 8 and leaves plenty for leftovers like sandwiches

There’s more than one way to roast a turkey, but from experience we’ve learned to start at a high temperature then turn it down for crisp skin and moist meat. In advance: Place the raw turkey in the refrigerator breast-side down so the juices flow to the white meat; this contributes to moist breast meat. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting.


8 tbls. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (do not add salt to a brined bird)
1 (12- to 14-lb.) turkey, neck and giblets removed


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-third position.

2. In a small bowl, mash together the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold running water, drain it and pat it dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body.

4. Place the turkey in a roasting pan (fit with a rack, if desired). Generously season the inside and underside of the turkey with salt and pepper.

5. Using clean hands, loosen the skin over the turkey breast by running your hands just under the skin. Reaching with your fingers as far as possible, carefully loosen the skin over the legs.

6. Gently push about 6 tablespoons of the butter mixture under the skin, using your fingertips to carefully spread the butter over the breast and legs. Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons butter mixture evenly over the outside of the turkey skin.

7. Transfer the turkey to the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. The turkey should begin to turn golden brown.

8. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and loosely cover the turkey with a large piece of tented aluminum foil. Continue to
roast the turkey. If desired, baste the turkey with the pan drippings every 30 minutes or so.

9. Start checking for doneness after about 2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven when a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted in the breast. (The internal temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after you remove it from the oven. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the turkey is done when the breast and thigh meat reach 165 degrees. The total cooking time should be 2 to 2-1/2 hours for a 12- to 14-pound bird.

10. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes prior to carving. Reserve the drippings in the roasting pan for the Turkey Gravy (recipe follows).

Nutritional analysis per serving (using meat and skin): 459 calories, 57 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, 24 grams fat, 171 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams saturated fat, 185 milligrams sodium and 0 grams dietary fiber.

Here's another recipe that has really caught on the past few years. People love it for its simplicity and incredibly moist meat. Also it isn't as spicy as the above recipe, another good easy choice for picky eaters or a house of people with different needs.

Spice-Brined Turkey

Makes: 12 servings
(serving size: about 6 ounces turkey and about 1/4 cup cider gravy).


5 qts. water
3/4 cup plus 2 tbls. kosher salt
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh ginger (about 6 ozs.)
2 tbls. coarsely crushed cloves
2 tbls. coarsely crushed cardamom pods
2 tbls. coarsely crushed whole allspice
2 tbls. coarsely crushed black peppercorns
1 (12-lb.) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
1 (14-oz.) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1-1/2 cups apple cider
1.1 ozs. all-purpose flour (about ø cup)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook until salt is dissolved. Remove pot from heat; cool completely.

2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey, or reserve for another use. Trim excess fat. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Add turkey to pot, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning turkey occasionally.

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Place turkey, breast side up, in roasting pan. Pour 1 cup broth into pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees (do not remove turkey from oven). Bake turkey at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours or until thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165 degrees. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 30 minutes. Remove and discard skin.

5. Place a resealable plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag.

6. Drain drippings into a measuring cup, stopping before the fat layer reaches the opening (reserve 1 tablespoon fat). Combine drippings, remaining broth, and cider in a small bowl. Place roasting pan on stove top over medium heat, scraping to loosen browned bits. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and reserved fat to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Slowly add broth mixture, stirring with a whisk; cook 4 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper.

Note: You can use a double layer of turkey-brining bags, then keep the bagged turkey in a stockpot in the refrigerator to guard against punctures. Garnish the turkey with fresh herbs and apples, if desired.

Sometimes, there are just the two of you. We have faced that dilemma many times in our house. Some years we just grilled flavorful pork chops or steaks. Other years when the weather was unusually cold we made Italian Turkey Sausage Spaghetti with loads of crusty very very garlic bread. :) This is another option if you still want turkey. I've roasted and thrown on the grill small turkey breasts. You can even deep fry this recipe.

Turkey Breast

From: Pat and David Bernstein

Serves: 4 (two on Thanksgiving plus leftovers for next day).


1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 (4- to 6-lb.) turkey breast
1 lemon, juiced
1 to 2 tbls. minced garlic


1. In a bowl, combine lemon pepper, salt, paprika and poultry seasoning.

2. Wash turkey breast and pat dry. Pour lemon juice on turkey, then cover it with seasoning mixture. Top breast with the minced garlic.

3. Place breast in covered container in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight or up to 24 hours.

4. The next day, prepare either a barbecue cooker for the indirect cooking method (coals sprinkled with water-soaked hickory chips on sides of grill, bird in the middle) or a deep-fat fryer (following manufacturer’s instructions).

5. Remove turkey from refrigerator and wipe off seasoning mixture and garlic.

6. Cook until breast reads 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes to 13 minutes a pound for indirect method, about 3-1/2 minutes to 4-1/2 minutes per pound using deep-fryer.

For the beginner cook, know that this turkey stock is something you will want to make after the main holiday meal. This is where the fun after Thanksgiving begins to make wonderful turkey soup, turkey stew you can put over rice, turkey pot pies, turkey jambalaya, you name it. It really is a better product when you make it from a roasted turkey leftovers, even more so when make with a turkey that was well spiced. Of course, you will have to strain it all and pick through it for the meat bits to retain.

Rich Turkey Stock

From: November 2003 issue of Food & Wine magazine

Makes: about 12 cups. To achieve depth of flavor, simmer roasted rather than raw turkey parts.


7 lbs. turkey parts, such as wings, thighs and drumsticks
1 large onion, thickly sliced
1 large carrot, thickly sliced
1 large stalk celery, thickly sliced, optional
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp. salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
4 qts. (16 cups) water


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the turkey parts in a single layer in a large roasting pan and roast for about 1‰ hours, until browned well.

2. Transfer the roasted turkey parts to a large pot. Reserve the roasting pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery (if using), garlic, salt and several pinches of pepper along with 12 cups water and bring to a boil.

3. Meanwhile, place the roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove top. Add the remaining 4 cups water to the roasting pan, turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

4. Carefully pour the liquid from the roasting pan into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer for about 2-1/2 hours. Strain the stock, discarding the solids or removing the turkey meat from the bones and reserving the meat for another use.

5. Set stock aside to cool slightly. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Skim fat from surface before using. (May skim the fat, then freeze for up to 3 months.)

For a good gravy, do yourself a favor and invest in a wire whisk if you don't already own one. There is even a special wire whisk that is flat rather than round in shape and is used especially for making gravies! We usually double the gravy recipes for open-face turkey sandwiches or other dishes using gravy.

Turkey Gravy

From: November 2003 issue of Food & Wine magazine

Serves: Makes about 2 cups or 8 servings.


In advance: Turkey stock can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. But gravy cannot be made in advance. It demands both turkey fat and the defatted drippings from the turkey roasting pan, which are available only after the turkey comes out of the oven. (Use a fat separator cup to isolate the fat from the drippings.)


4 tbls. turkey fat (from the drippings in the turkey roasting pan)
4 tbls. flour
About 2 cups Rich Turkey Stock (see stock recipe), chicken stock or broth, heated until almost boiling
Defatted juices (from the drippings in the turkey roasting pan)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a medium sauté pan or pot over medium heat, heat the turkey fat until warm. Using a whisk or a fork, stir the flour into the fat and cook, whisking constantly, until a paste forms.

2. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 2 more minutes. Still whisking constantly, gradually add the hot stock or broth in ø-cup increments, whisking until the stock is completely incorporated after each addition.

3. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until the gravy simmers and thickens, about 5 minutes.

4. Slowly add the defatted juices and salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine.

5. If desired, strain the gravy. If the gravy is thicker than you would like, thin it with a little more stock. Serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis per 1/4-cup serving (using low-sodium chicken broth): 83 calories, 1 gram protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 7 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams saturated fat and 10 milligrams sodium.

*** For a wide variety of turkey recipes:

Video: Unusual Exotic Thanksgiving Menu, Poll on Turkey Vs. Sides Debate

Video: Chicago Chef Jimmy Bannos Cajun Thanksgiving Menu of 12 Recipes

Video: 8 Cajun Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes, BBQ Turkey, Deep Fry Turkey, Roasting Tips

For a typical Louisiana sweet: Louisiana Culture: Heavenly Hash Cake

*** Check out New York Times and their ideas for Thanksgiving Day where Mark Bittman has all kinds of creative ideas for side dishes for you: 101 Head Starts on the Day

Turkey Roasting Tips and Advice

Here are some basic facts you need to know when roasting a turkey:

Before you roast turkey: In general, a 12- to-14-pound range is preferable. A small unstuffed turkey in that weight range cooks in a reasonable amount of time (from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature at which you choose to roast it). It also stays moist and tender. Conversely, a larger turkey takes more time to cook, and the breast meat can become dry before the dark meat is done.

If you have a frozen bird: Turkey should be kept properly chilled while thawing. Do not defrost a frozen turkey on the counter. Instead, place a frozen turkey on a tray in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Allow 24 hours for each 5 pounds of turkey.

Look inside: Turkeys have two cavities, one at the neck and one at the breast. The turkey parts — neck, giblets, heart and liver — are usually contained in small bags within those cavities. Be sure to remove them before roasting. You can add the neck, giblets and heart to the stock, but not the liver (the darkest colored item); it will make the stock bitter.

■ For crispier skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. Leaving the turkey alone for the first hour of cooking allows the skin to crisp. Basting frequently after that gives the bird an even color while helping to seal in juices.

■ Cooking times will differ depending on whether you bought a fresh or frozen bird. Plan on 20 minutes a pound in a 350-degree oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes a pound for a fresh bird.

■ A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.

■ For even roasting, truss your turkey by pulling the legs together loosely and tying them with kitchen string; a bow will be easy to untie later. Any kind of sturdy white string or twine will do, as long as it’s made of cotton, not polyester (which might melt in the oven). Rub the turkey with butter, season with salt and pepper and put in roasting pan. Tent the turkey breast with foil to prevent overbrowning.

■ Once the turkey is in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door. When the oven temperature fluctuates, you’re increasing the likelihood of a dry bird. About 45 minutes before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown.

■ A few items you will need for your holiday meal include a large, heavy-duty roasting pan and rack for the turkey; a turkey baster or brush; cotton kitchen string or metal lacers for trussing a turkey; a digital thermometer with probe, and a carving knife.

■ Using an instant-read thermometer will help ensure that your turkey has cooked thoroughly. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the inner side of the thigh (adjoining the drumstick and alongside the breast). It should be near but not touching the bone. The temperature should be 165 degrees.

■ Remember to carve your turkey with a very sharp or electric knife.

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often! :)

19 November 2009

Catch Up on This Weeks 51 Posts At Dennys Blogs 17 Nov 2009

From Denny: After a year of blogging, I turned around and suddenly realized I've been producing a lot of content. Nor am I silly enough to think you check in every day with every blog. :) So, in case you missed anything this week, here's a menu of various posts all in one place for an easy read - and bookmark - so you can read when you feel like it:

From The Social Poets:

Roundup of Sunday Funnies 16 Nov 2009

Life Advice Poem by Rudyard Kipling

This Weeks Editorial Cartoons 14 Nov 2009

Reflections of That Moment - Libations Friday! 13 Nov 2009

5 Powerful Soul Affirmations, Soul Journey Poem

Funny Money Advice - Cheeky Quote Day! 11 Nov 2009

Musicians Are Territorial Animals, Funny Post by David Thomas

Roundup of Late Night Funnies, Cartoons 9 Nov 2009

From the funny posts at Dennys Funny Quotes and Ouch Outrageous Obnoxious And Odd:

From Dennys Funny Quotes:

Funny Secret to Longevity Photo and Story

10 Funny Love Quotes, Funny Cat Photo

Funny Money Advice, Cheeky Quote Day at The Social Poets

Video: Weirdest American Gluttony Foods

3 Paradoxically Funny Head Scratching Quotes

Awww, 7 Funny Dog Photos to Make You Laugh

What's stupidly popular at Dennys Funny Quotes these days:

42 Monday Morning Funny Coffee Quotes, Coffee Cartoon

25 Weird Coffee Trivia to Astound and Amuse You

10 Funny Work Quotes for Monday Morning

5 Monday Morning Posts to Get You Laughing!

From Ouch Outrageous Obnoxious And Odd:

9 Funny Socially Inappropriate Store Signs - what gets lost in translation from Chinese or Japanese into English, some really tacky ones!

Ouch! Best Love Story in Three Pictures: Prez Bush and Sec Condi Rice - a bit silly.

Outrageous Video: Overview of World Censorship on the Web - serious look at how content is heavily censored and in which countries, interesting overview.

First Lady Michelle Obama on Leno Show - how the Obamas don't take themselves too seriously.

Odd News Video: Liquor Warehouse Implodes in Russia

Weird News: Man in Breathalizer Costume Arrested by Police

10 Outrageous Glenn Beck Quotes That Prove Insanity

From the food blogs, Romancing The Chocolate and Comfort Food From Louisiana:

From Romancing The Chocolate:

Savory Chocolate Recipe: Mini Hamburger Sliders with Sauce

Chocolate Trivia from Horror Director Hitchcock

Video: Cool Food Gifts for the Holidays, Southern Sweet Chocolate Coconut Pie Recipe

3 Quick Awesome Chocolate Recipes for the Holidays

Chocolate Trivia - Who Are the Biggest Chocolate Gluttons on the Planet?

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

From Comfort Food From Louisiana:

Video and Recipes: Holiday Challah and Ciabatta Stuffings, Vegetarian and Sausage

Cajun Joke: Boat For Sale by Beaudreaux and Thibodeaux

Video and Recipes: 3 Fabulous New Orleans Sweets

Cajun Joke: Boudreaux and Thibodeaux Fix Destroyed New Orleans Levee

Video: Unbelievable, OK, Weird, Foods and Recipes

Cajun Joke: Boudreaux and Thibodeaux Play Golf

Video and Recipes: Lobster Grits Polenta, Turkey Andouille Sausage Grits Casserole

Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs

From Beautiful Illustrated Quotations:

Life is a Gift!

Whats Your Attitude Toward Life?

Veterans Day Quote, Links to Memorial Poems, Peace Quotes

3 Wonderful Quotes About Joy

5 Powerful Soul Affirmations, Soul Journey Poem

How Do You Know If You Have a Weak Mind?

When Something Inside You Dies, Do You Know How to Renew Your Life?

Do You Sell Your Soul For Others Admiration?

From The Healing Waters:

Video: Tim McGraw Making a Difference

Video: Halle Berry Making a Difference for Battered Women

The Perfect Work Quote to Keep Your Head Straight on Monday Mornings

Video: Awareness, and Gibran Quote

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often! :)

18 November 2009

7 Funny Quotes About Reading Habits

Reading Upside Down Photo by garryknight @ flickr

From Denny: Today, and every Wednesday, is Cheeky Quote Day over at The Social Poets, one of my many blogs where I dance on the airwaves. Here's a sampling of what's going on today:


* A classic is something that everybody wants to have read
and nobody wants to read. ~ Mark Twain ~

* Never lend books, for no one ever returns them;
the only books I have in my library are books
that other folks have left me. ~ Anatole France ~

* I read the newspaper avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction. ~ Aneurin Bevan ~

* Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? ~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

* Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.
~ Groucho Marx ~

* Books are the blessed chloroform of the mind. ~ Robert Chambers ~

* Never judge a book by its movie.
~ J. W. Eagan ~

*** To read a bonanza of funny quotes like this, hike on over to The Social Poets for Cheeky Quote Day to get some more grins, go here.

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often! :)

17 November 2009

Savory Chocolate Recipe: Mini Hamburger Sliders with Sauce

Photo of a similar slider by Yogma @ flickr

From Denny: Savory recipes using chocolate as an ingredient are not exactly prolific, so when I stumble across one it gets bookmarked immediately! :) Found this a couple of days ago. They actually use cocoa powder as a "spice" in with the ground meat!

This recipe is great for tail-gating season or any other informal gathering. The sauce sounds awesome and is made out of garlic, bacon, vinegar, tomatoes, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and Zinfandel wine.

Zinfandel Sliders With Tomato-Bacon Jam

From: Randy Lewis, burger boss and owner of Best-O-Burger Restaurants from San Francisco, California

Makes: 12 minislider burgers



1 cup diced bacon
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 piece cinnamon stick
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel
1 tsp. honey
Kosher salt, to taste


2-1/4 lbs. lean ground chuck
2 tsps. kosher salt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
12 slices Jack cheese
12 miniburger or brioche buns


For the Tomato-Bacon Jam:

1. In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, add bacon and cook until crispy, stirring often, about 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the vinegar and cinnamon stick and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 1 minute.

4. Stir in tomatoes, brown sugar, pepper flakes and Zinfandel. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is completely evaporated, about 1-1/2 hours.

5. Stir in the honey and season with salt. Discard cinnamon stick and serve jam at room temperature. The cooked and cooled Tomato-Bacon Jam can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

For Zinfandel Sliders:

1. Break up ground chuck in medium bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, add salt, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cinnamon. Mix to combine evenly and sprinkle over meat. Toss to distribute seasonings.

3. Divide seasoned meat into 12 equal portions. Gently toss one portion of meat back and forth between hands to form loose ball.

4. Lightly flatten into patty 1/4-inch thick and about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining meat.

5. Grill or pan cook burger patties over medium-high heat to your desired degree of doneness, about 1 minute each.

6. Top each with cheese slice. Grill or toast burger buns and spread Tomato-Bacon Jam on burger.

*** As I was looking for the photo to go with this recipe (site was down for maintenance so not available) I found this cool site called Menu Pages - where you stash online all those menus from restaurants you enjoy and don't have to hold onto the paper version in some messy drawer at home!

*** Thanks for visiting and come back often! :)

14 November 2009

Video: Halle Berry Making a Difference for Battered Women

From Denny: If you missed this segment you will definitely want to watch it. Halle Berry grew up with an abusive father who battered her mother. Today, the actress is helping other women get strong, help heal them and their children and build new - and confident - lives.

13 November 2009

3 Quick Awesome Chocolate Recipes for the Holidays

From Denny: The holiday season is upon us and I'm on the hunt to find easy convenient recipes for us to enjoy during the holidays. Baking should be fun - and most times fast - so we can get down to the business of savoring that chocolate bite with a cup of steaming hot tea or coffee! Who's with me on this? All together now, everyone raise their virtual hands all at once! :)

Shortbread is often a holiday tradition in Europe and America. This almond fudge topped version is a new and wonderful twist as another way to use chocolate rather than the standard dipping and coating a cookie. The Chocolate Kisses Cookie Torte is a real show-stopper in the eye candy department and perfect for the holidays. While they do require some chilling time they can easily be made a day or two ahead of your big day.

The Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake is an easy basic cake to make with all purpose flour so you don't have to jump through hoops or run to the grocery store to make it since it comes from basic ingredients. We all know who follow this blog that chocolate is one of the major food groups and is always stashed in some form in our pantries. :) All I do with all purpose flour is sift it a few times to fluff it up so the cake is lighter, similar to using cake flour. It isn't exactly the same but is close enough.

Another quick note for beginner bakers: When using eggs in any baking recipe (unless otherwise noted) the standard is to use size large eggs. Use AA grade eggs when you can find them as those are the freshest and will give the best flavor and loft to your cake.

As to vegetable oil, when combining with chocolate I go for a neutral tasting oil like canola (also called rapeseed in Europe, correct me if I'm wrong on that one) so that the chocolate shines through to be the main player in the taste game.

Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread

From: Hershey's

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Ghiradelli brand is wonderful too - feel free to use your best quality chocolate available)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Beat butter, powdered sugar and salt in large bowl until fluffy. Add flour; stir until well blended. With floured hands, press evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Shortly before end of baking time, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until chips are melted. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread evenly over baked shortbread. Sprinkle with almonds; press down firmly. Cool.

4. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature. 24 to 36 bars.

Easy MINI KISSES Cookie Torte

From: Hershey's


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 cup strong coffee
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (11 oz.) pie crust mix
2-1/2 cups cold whipping cream
1-3/4 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S MINI KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates, divided


1. Place sugar, cocoa, coffee, shortening and cinnamon in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving, 30 seconds at a time, until mixture is smooth and creamy when stirred with wire whisk. Remove 3/4 cup of mixture; set aside remaining mixture.

2. Stir together pie crust mix and reserved 3/4 cup cocoa mixture, blending until smooth. Shape into ball; cut into 4 pieces. Shape into patties; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 10 minutes or just until firm, but pliable.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with foil; mark two 8-inch diameter circles on each. Place one patty in center of each circle; press with fingers into marked circles. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost set; cool completely on foil.

4. Gently peel foil away from cookies. In bowl with remaining cocoa mixture, pour whipping cream; beat until whipped cream consistency, about 3 minutes. Place 1 cookie on serving plate; place chocolates all around the outside edge of cookie. Place one-fourth of cream mixture in center; gently spread out to chocolates.

5. Repeat layering with remaining 3 cookies, cream mixture and chocolates, ending with cream. Place remaining chocolates all over top of torte. Cover: refrigerate 4 hours until filling has softened cookies. Refrigerate leftover torte. About 10 servings.

Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake



2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean and the top springs back when touched gently. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING. 8 to 10 servings.



3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Place melted butter in large mixer bowl. Add cocoa, stirring until smooth.

2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, beating until smooth. If necessary add additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, beating until spreading consistency. About 3 cups frosting.

*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, and come back often! :) Looks like I'll have to ramp up and start posting more than twice a week on the recipes during holiday season. And chocolate food hound is on the move...
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