Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple, Pancetta, and Pecans

 

Roasted Brussels SroutsThink it’s too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner? Think again! November 26 may seem like a long way off, but for the holiday host, it’s right around the corner. And for anyone counting, it’s only 10 days away. But don’t panic. This month, we’re bringing you preparation tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is as smooth as your gravy (should be).

In between our Thanksgiving tips posts, we’ll also be sharing some of our favorite original Thanksgiving recipes — like these decadent roasted Brussels sprouts — so stay tuned or be sure to follow us on Facebook, or you know, whatever works for you.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple, Pancetta, and Pecans

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Sriracha
6 ounces diced pancetta
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, syrup, and Sriracha and set aside.

In a large saute pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate, and reserve two tablespoons of the rendered fat.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the reserved bacon fat and the olive oil, then season with the salt and pepper. Spread them evenly, with the cut side down, across two large baking sheets. Cook until the Brussels sprouts are barely tender and just beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the Brussels sprouts with the sauce.

Return to the oven and cook for five more minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving a platter, and top with the pancetta and pecans.

Thanksgiving Prep: Mid-November

posted in: Holidays, Thanksgiving 2015 | 0

Roasted Turkey Photo Injected with Beer Feed Me Creative

Think it’s too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner? Think again! November 26 may seem like a long way off, but for the holiday host, it’s right around the corner. And for anyone counting, it’s only 14 days away. But don’t panic. This month, we’re bringing you preparation tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is as smooth as your gravy (should be).

The majority of these tips aren’t exactly new. But they’re still relevant today. Many moons (okay, six years) ago I was a regular contributor to Slahsfood, AOL’s now-defunct food blog. One of my favorite assignments was to prep readers for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I’ve located the posts, edited them a bit for, er, modern times (I’m a grown-ass woman now), and am sharing them here.

In between our Thanksgiving tips posts, we’ll also be sharing some of our favorite original Thanksgiving recipes, so stay tuned or be sure to follow us on Facebook, or you know, whatever works for you.

Mid-November Thanksgiving To-Do

By this point, you should have a head count and have already placed an order for an appropriately sized turkey. You may have made an outline of your menu. Now it’s time for the heavy lifting. Try to do some of this over the weekend. 

1. Finalize your menu.
You should have a rough idea of what you’re going to serve for the holiday meal. Now it’s time to decide how many pounds of Brussels sprouts you’ll need and how you’re going to prepare them. Are you going to brine your turkey? What kind of rolls are you serving? Salted or unsalted butter? Are you making pies or asking someone else to bring them? Now is the time to make all of those decisions, and then make a shopping list based on the recipes for each dish.

2. Get help.
Unless you’re independently wealthy and happen to employ a full-time garde manger, no one expects you to prepare the entire Thanksgiving dinner yourself. Doing so would take away from the spirit of Thanksgiving anyway. Remember that it’s more than okay to ask your guests to bring something.

If you’re afraid of outright asking, tell your friend’s girlfriend that your Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be complete without her creamy cauliflower puree. And ask a family member who can’t cook to bring a bottle of wine and a store-bought pie (or a French pumpkin tart!).

Even though you probably don’t employ full-time kitchen help, and you’re doing this solo, asking a close friend or family member to come over in the morning and help you prepare is well worth the cappuccino and croissant you’ll buy her in return. Not only can she help you with prep work, she can also make last-minute trips to the store, lest you forget to buy butter or run out of salt.

3. Shop till you drop.
You don’t want to be cursing locals at the liquor store the day before Thanksgiving, do you? (I mean, that’s cool if it’s your thing…) Get as much shopping as you can done now, while you can still do it with equal parts ease and dignity. Load up on non-perishables and, more importantly, booze. The last thing you want to run out of on Thanksgiving is beer and wine. Seriously.

Once the food runs out (or people have eaten as much as they can, in the first round, anyway) your guests will want to sit around and drink for as long as you will let them. And while it’s absolutely acceptable to ask each one to bring a bottle of wine, as host or hostess you should have some stashed away. Plan on at least a bottle of wine per adult, and don’t worry about getting expensive stuff. Your guests will bring that, and after a few bottles go down wine is wine, right?

What else you can buy now:

  • Butter
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Cranberry sauce (if you’re using the canned stuff, but it’s so easy to make fresh)
  • Paper products (paper towels, napkins and, yes, extra toilet paper)
  • Candles
  • Broth/stock
  • Dried spices and herbs
  • Bag for your turkey if you plan to brine it

4. Beg, borrow and steal.
Okay, maybe don’t steal, but is your home equipped with everything you need to prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner? Are you sure? Do you have a stock pot big enough for boiling 15 pounds of potatoes? Or enough plates for dinner and dessert? What about wine glasses, chairs and serving pieces? Though a gravy boat is optional, if not antiquated, you’re going to need all the rest. If you don’t have a large stock pot, borrow one from your mom or a co-worker or neighbor. And if you find you can’t borrow everything you need, think about hitting thrift stores for kitschy, vintage finds.

How do you start prepping for Turkey Day? Tell us in the comments!

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Think it’s too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner? Think again! November 26 may seem like a long way off, but for the holiday host, it’s right around the corner. And for anyone counting, it’s only 16 days away. But don’t panic. This month, we’re bringing you preparation tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is as smooth as your gravy (should be).

The majority of these tips aren’t exactly new. But they’re still relevant today. Many moons (okay, six years) ago I was a regular contributor to Slahsfood, AOL’s now-defunct food blog. One of my favorite assignments was to prep readers for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I’ve located the posts, edited them a bit for, er, modern times (I’m a grown-ass woman now), and am sharing them here.

In between our Thanksgiving tips posts, we’ll also be sharing some of our favorite original Thanksgiving recipes — like this super-easy Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce — so stay tuned or be sure to follow us on Facebook, or you know, whatever works for you.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces fresh cranberries
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
¼ cup Grand Marnier
Lime zest

Add the cranberries, water, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat, stir and let it cook until the cranberries are soft, and bright-red foam has formed, about 15 minutes.

Mash the cranberries with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to low, then add the lime juice and Grand Marnier. Mix well and let it simmer until it has reduced to a sauce-like texture, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest.

This recipe yields about one pint of sauce, and will keep in a Mason jar or other air-tight container in the fridge for a few weeks.

Lunch at El Pollo Alegre in KCK

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We’re big fans of El Pollo Rey (The Chicken King) in Kansas City, KS. They serve a whole chicken, a half chicken, or chicken wings, and you get sides like tortillas, rice, and pickled onions. It’s simple and delicious. But recently we got a tip about a place that pretty much operates according to the same concept, but is a little better. I admit, I had a hard time believing anything could be better than The Chicken King, but El Pollo Alegre (The Joyful Chicken, according to Google Translate, or The Happy Chicken according to everyone else) sort of blew our minds.

chx-1-4

Like El Pollo Rey, El Pollo Alegre serves the chicken with tortillas, rice, pickled onions and salsa, but instead of the beans and hotdogs concoction, they serve a dirty (in a good way) slaw.

El Pollo Alegre El Pollo Rey Kansas City KS Chickenchx-1And, of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without a sweet drink.

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El Pollo Alegre is located at 904 North 18th Street in Kansas City, Kansas. They’re closed on Tuesdays.

Thanksgiving Prep: Beer-Can Turkey

posted in: Holidays, Thanksgiving 2015 | 0

Grilled Beer Can Turkey Recipe

Think it’s too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner? Think again! November 26 may seem like a long way off, but for the holiday host, it’s right around the corner. And for anyone counting, it’s only 22 days away. That’s why this month, we’re bringing you preparation tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is as smooth as your gravy (should be).

The majority of these tips and recipes aren’t exactly new. But they’re still relevant today. Many moons (okay, six years) ago I was a regular contributor to Slahsfood, AOL’s now-defunct food blog. One of my favorite assignments was to prep readers for my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I’ve located the posts, edited them a bit for, er, modern times (I’m a grown-ass woman now), and am sharing them on The Feed Me Blog. We’re also sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes we’ve created over the years, like this Beer-Can Turkey recipe we did for MadeMan.com.

We’ll be posting much more content leading up to Thanksgiving, so stay tuned or be sure to follow us on Facebook, or you know, whatever works for you.

Thanksgiving Beer-Can Turkey

Beer-can chicken is a staple at our dinner table in the summertime. You shove a can full of beer up inside a whole animal and let it cook to perfection on the grill — the skin gets brown and crispy and the inside stays juicy and amazingly flavorful. After an hour or so, you have a beautiful and impressive piece of meat that is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes. A few years ago, my husband Kyle decided to cook our turkey the same way, but on a larger scale (uh, can).

Grilled Beer Can Turkey Recipe

To support a turkey, you’re going to need something a little more substantial than a can of beer. In Steven Raichlen’s “Beer-Can Chicken” book, he  uses a Foster’s “oil can” when cooking a turkey. We prefer something even sturdier: a 29-ounce can of fruit cocktail, emptied and refilled with beer, of course. It has a much stronger base and it’s impossible for the weight of the bird to crush the can.

Luckily, there’s no need to bust into our stash of craft beer for this, either. We use PBR. It may not be the classiest beer, but it is full of flavor and the price is right. This recipe calls for a six-pack of tallboys. You will need one can for the recipe and five to prepare you for the in-laws.

Beer-Can Turkey

1 whole fresh turkey, 10-16 pounds
Your favorite all-purpose barbecue rub
Olive oil
29-ounce can of fruit cocktail, emptied and label removed
½ large, white onion
1 stick butter
6-pack PBR tallboy cans

Additional tools: Big Green Egg or smoker, meat thermometer, large spatula

Remove the giblets, rinse the bird inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels. Liberally rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil and barbecue rub. While you’re rubbing the inside of the bird, treat the bottom like a crocodile’s mouth and wedge it open enough so the can will fit. You may end up breaking some ribs — that’s cool. Let the bird sit out at room temperature for at least an half hour.

Open a PBR and pour the contents into the emptied fruit can. Add a tablespoon of rub to the beer (be careful — it may fizz up, so add the rub in increments). Add the onion to the can as well.

Grilled Beer Can Turkey Recipe

Light your smoker or Big Green Egg and bring it up to 325ºF. Place a drip pan under where you intend to place the turkey (to catch the fat drippings) and then place the can full of beer directly over the drip pan. Place the turkey on top of the can and close the lid.

Conventional wisdom says that a turkey cooked at 325º will require about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound. Therefore, the 14-pounder we cooked should have taken roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes. But the birds always finish early (ours took about 3 hours and 45 minutes).

About an hour before the bird is expected to be finished, melt the butter and brush it all over the skin.

Grilled Beer Can Turkey Recipe

Once the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165ºF, carefully remove the bird from the smoker, using a spatula under the can and another utensil (like a fork) to stabilize the top. Allow the bird to sit for a half hour on the can.

Carefully remove the bird from the can and let it rest another half hour. Slice it up and dig in.

Find more on this (including some not-so-great pictures) at MadeMan.com.

How do you start prepping for Turkey Day? Tell us in the comments!

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