Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving foodMany years ago as a newlywed I was faced with making my very first Thanksgiving meal for myself and my new husband.  This of course entailed roasting a turkey.  I was clueless!

Seriously, in my single life Thanksgiving meals were prepared by mom, grandmas, and aunties; I think they took turns hosting the family for Thanksgiving each year.  Whatever the case may be I just popped in to where ever it was served and stuffed myself with all the yummy stuff they made.

Alas that year it was not to be.  Mom had moved back to New York where all the relatives were and I was alone in Hawaii, yup, just me and new hubby left to fend for ourselves on Thanksgiving. These days it probably wouldn’t have been a problem, one can just order a Thanksgiving meal for the entire family from one of the local restaurants or supermarket.  But back then this wasn’t an option.  So if I wanted a Thanksgiving meal I would have to figure out how to make it myself, starting with the turkey. (Yes that meant I had to stick my hand into the bird’s cavities and pull out its innards, seriously gross!)

Luckily I had a neighbor who showed me how to roast a turkey using a brown paper bag.  I was hesitant at first thinking the bag would catch fire, burn the house down, and we would be homeless on Thanksgiving day.  After all it was me roasting this bad bird and I could barely make toast unsupervised at that time!

Well my kitchen disaster never happened and I’ve been using this method to roast turkey ever since.  The only issues I’ve run into in recent years is finding large brown bags!

Years ago groceries were packed in large brown bags, perfect size for this roasting method.  The emergence of plastic grocery bags made it nearly impossible to find the paper ones.  Never one to give up I used brown craft paper when I can not locate large brown paper bags. Recently our state outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags and most supermarkets have started selling us large paper bags when we don’t bring our own grocery bags.  Umm that would be me, I always forget to bring the bags I have in my trunk into the stores so I end up purchasing even more bags.

I should mention however that I’ve only ever cooked using electric ovens, I’m told you can still use this method in a gas oven, just be sure to keep paper away from the flame.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try this so I would advise caution if you are going to try it in a gas oven.

Here’s how I do this using 2 large brown paper grocery bags or a very large shopping bag:

1.  Clean and wash turkey.  Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the cavity.  Refrigerate giblets if you will be using them in your gravy.

2.  Salt the turkey cavity with about 2 tbls of salt

3.  Place a whole peeled onion in the back of the cavity.

4. Rub butter on top of the thighs, wing tips, and the breast; anywhere the turkey may come in contact with the paper bag.

5. If you will not be stuffing your turkey then place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

If you will be stuffing your turkey then loosely place stuffing in both cavities.  Do not pack in stuffing.  Stuffing expands during cooking and you will have a big mess in the over and no stuffing.
Truss turkey using lacers and twine.  Place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

6.  Insert one end of the roasting pan into the first brown bag.*

7.  Work the second brown bag onto the roasting pan.  Make sure the bag overlaps with the first bag.*

Brown bag
8.  Place the whole package in the oven using the chart below from allrecipes.com.

Bag in oven

9.  30 minutes before the turkey is done carefully tear off bags and remove.  Don’t jiggle the pan too much, you don’t want the drippings to spill, you will need the drippings for gravy.  Leave turkey uncovered to brown.

10.  When turkey is done remove from the oven and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes.  Do not transfer turkey on to serving tray immediately after cooking, it will fall apart.  Using turkey lifters makes transferring the turkey easier.

11.  If your stuffing is in the bird scoop it out onto a serving bowl before carving the turkey, it’s just neater than having everyone spoon stuffing directly out of the bird.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C ) oven.

 

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time 
  (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours   3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours   4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours   5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

* If you can not get large brown bags you can use brown craft paper.  You can buy a roll at Walmart or any discount store.  Wrap the paper around the whole roasting pan.  Staple shut on both ends and on the top.

My Turkey

This is my turkey cooked using the brown bag method. This bird weighed 24 pounds.

Jaime's Turkey

My daughter in Colorado uses my method to make her Thanksgiving turkey. This is a small turkey weighing about 15 pounds.

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

tuscan chickenWe’ve recently started eating healthier again, that’s after a summer of long vacations that at times made healthy eating difficult.  It’s so easy to slip back into bad eating habits like fast food burgers and fries, easy to grab bags of chips, and other junk food.

But at our age and with our recent test results and recently diagnosed conditions we really must stop eating like teenagers!  I mean I love my burgers and fries, pizza, sodas, candies, and other sweets, but they don’t seem to love me as much as they used to.  I had always bragged that I could eat everything I loved without gaining an ounce of weight.  This may have been true 10 or more years ago, but not any more.  Besides now I have to deal with Eczema and other issues, my “normal” diet was just not going to cut it.  My husband is in the same boat.  So we’re each trying different changes to deal with our specific issues.

Right now my husband has been following a Keto Diet.  For him it’s really not too much of a hardship.  He’s pretty disciplined and usually does low carb diets when he needs to drop a few pounds.  So I’ve been modifying some old favorites to be keto friendly.  Remember Keto diets are low carb, medium protein, and high fat.  (I don’t follow this diet as I’m dealing with other issues and too much fat is not something I can tolerate.)

Anyway one of the challenges when someone in the family is on some sort of a special diet is to make meals that everyone can eat.  In short I am not a short order cook who will make a different meal for each family member.  This has actually proven to be somewhat simple, specially when I’m modifying family favorites.  One of my biggest successes is this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole.

My Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole is very Keto Friendly, low in carb (1 gram per 1/2 cup serving), good protein, and high in fat.  Not to mention it is divine!  Everyone loves it!  The kids and anyone not on a keto diet eats it with pasta, my husband has it with a small salad.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed

1/4 Cup Butter

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1 Cup Heavy Cream or Half & Half

1 Cup Cream Cheese, room temp

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 Cups Fresh Spinach leaves

1 Cup Sun Dried Tomato Strips in Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Procedure:

Melt Butter in an oven safe frying pan – cast iron pans work great

Sauté garlic

Add chicken cubes & Italian Seasoning and cook until done, stir constantly

Add milk and cream cheese, stir until all the cream cheese has melted and the sauce looks creamy – stir constantly to avoid burning the sauce

Add spinach and cook until leaves have wilted, stir constantly

Add sun dried tomato strips and the oil it’s soaked in, stir to combine well

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream

Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Bake in 350° oven for 15 minutes or until cheese melts

Serve hot with salad or over pasta

 

 

 

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole
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Teriyaki Chicken

This Teriyaki Chicken recipe will quickly become a new favorite! In this one pan recipe, bite size chicken breasts pieces are sautéed in a skillet then coated with an easy and delicious teriyaki sauce. This tastes just like your favorite Chinese take-out but you can have this ready faster than the time it would take to go pick up take-out!

I’ve made other teriyaki chicken recipes but this hands down beats the prep and cook time on any other teriyaki chicken I’ve tried. And yet it tastes just as good! Plus it’s such a flavorful sauce so it doesn’t even require marinating.

It’s a (mostly) healthy recipe that comes in at 258 calories per serving so it a smarter choice than the deep fried food you usually get from your favorite Chinese take-out.

Click here for my Baked Barbecue Chicken recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4cup water
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 2tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2tsp peeled and minced fresh garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2tsp cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in chicken and let brown on bottom about 3 – 4 minutes then flip and continue to cook until center registers about 160 degrees, about 3 minutes longer.
  3. While chicken is cooking, in a small mixing bowl (or liquid measuring cup) whisk together soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and cornstarch.
  4. Stir the sauce in with the cooked chicken and continue to cook and toss until sauce has thickened, about 30 – 60 seconds longer.
  5. Serve warm garnished with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
  6. Recipe source: inspired by my Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

 

Teriyaki Chicken
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Slow Cooker Chicken a La King

 Chicken à la King originated in England and is like a casserole and a stew. It’s prepared with diced chicken in a creamy sauce with vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, and mushrooms, and served over rice or biscuits. Don’t let the fancy name or the “antique” nature of the dish fool you – it’s fairly simple to prepare, especially if you use our short cuts. This is a great recipe for busy folks who are looking for a hearty meal to feed a hungry crowd.

Chicken à la king can be made on the stove top, but for those of you who prefer the “set-it-and-forget-it” method – you know that’s our favorite way to make dinner! – this is right up your alley. We love a meal that is easy to make, easy on the wallet, and satisfying to the appetite. And mmm-mmm-mmm, is this one a keeper; the finished product comes out of the slow cooker so rich and creamy. Don’t forget to add biscuits or some crusty bread on the side – you’ll need something to help you scrape the sides of the bowl!

Need more chicken recipes?  Try my Chicken Souvlaki it’s amazing!

 

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INGREDIENTS

3 chicken breast
1 (26 oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables
( corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

1. Use cooking spray to coat slow cooker.
2. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of slow cooker, then top with onion and add bag of mixed vegetables.
3. Stir together chicken broth and cream of chicken soup in a bowl, then pour mixture over chicken and veggies. For a slightly thinner consistency, add more chicken broth.
4. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours. Prior to serving, remove chicken and dice or shred, then return to slow cooker; season with salt and pepper (to taste) and give a final stir.
5. Serve warm with biscuits or a side of crusty bread.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken a La King
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Slow Cooker Chicken a La King
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Chicken Sauteed in Shrimp Paste – Binagoongang Manok

Chicken Sauteed in Shrimp Paste – Binagoongang Manok

binagoongang Binagoongang Manok or Chicken Sautéed in Shrimp Paste is a specialty from the Philippine province of Pampanga.  It was originally made with small cubes of pork and called Binagoongang Baboy but the simple recipe has been adapted to include chicken or even just veggies.

I think it’s a great way to use up that jar of Bagoong or shimp paste that usually ends up shoved in the back of my refrigerator.  I usually only use bagoong when having  Kare Kare. So many times the bagoong gets too old and dehydrated.  Recently I learned how to make Binagoongang Manok and it takes care of the open jar of bagoong sitting in the back of my fridge.

When I make Binagoongang Manok I use cubes of chicken, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and string beans.  And I add fresh spicy chili peppers like jalapenos.  You can also add cubes of eggplant if you like.

I love this simple dish because the bagoong gives it a sweet and salty taste and the jalapenos give it that pop of spicy heat.  It’s the perfect comfort food and a perfect example of good old Filipino home cooking!  Served over hot steamed white rice, it’s delish!

If you’re wondering where you can buy shrimp paste it’s available at any Asian market.  It’s sold in a jar, buy the one that’s already been sauteed like the Kamayan brand or something similar.

Here’s my recipe!  I hope you like it!

*This post contains affiliate links



Chicken Sauteed in Shrimp Paste - Binagoongang Manok
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Sweet, salty, and just a bit spicy. These tender cubes of chicken sauteed in shrimp paste is a perfect example of Filipino home cooking.
Chicken Sauteed in Shrimp Paste - Binagoongang Manok
Print Recipe
Sweet, salty, and just a bit spicy. These tender cubes of chicken sauteed in shrimp paste is a perfect example of Filipino home cooking.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and fry chicken cubes until they are cooked and are turning brown
  2. Add Onions and Garlic and cook until onions start to turn translucent
  3. Add Tomato cubes and saute another 5 minutes
  4. Add string beans and saute until beans begin to soften
  5. Add the Bagoong, vinegar, and water and bring to a boil
  6. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for about 10 minutes or until beans are completely cooked
  7. Remove lid, turn up heat to medium and fry until most of the liquid has evaporated, be sure to keep stirring so the meat doesn't burn.
  8. Remove from heat and serve over steamed white rice.
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Mushroom & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts In Creamy Sauce

Mushroom & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts In Creamy Sauce

stuffed chicken breastsAre you searching for that perfect dish to impress your guests with this summer?  I know you want something that looks impressive but is fairly simple to make.  You just want them to think you spent hours slaving away  in the kitchen; but you really just want to pop something in the oven while you snuggle up to a good book.  Well I’ve go the perfect dish for you!  °

Well perhaps super easy is a bit of a stretch.  You do have to put some effort into making stuffed chicken breasts, but not a whole lot, really I mean it.  You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.  With just a little bit of prep time (before popping everything in the oven) and a few minutes to make the sauce you will have time to sit down and read a book or take a short nap while it’s cooking.

You can serve this dish with a side of pasta for a very satisfying meal.  Add a tossed salad and you’ve got a great meal to serve to friends and family!  Seriously your main ingredients are garlic, mushrooms, cheese, and chicken what’s not to love?

Need more chicken recipes?  Try my Chicken Souvlaki Skewers it’s amazing!

 

Mushroom & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Sauce
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Mushroom & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Sauce
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Ingredients
Stuffed Chicken Breast
Creamy Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F
  2. Melt Butter in oven safe skillet
  3. Add garlic and saute about a minute. Add sliced mushrooms, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are soft.
  4. Set mushrooms aside and allow to cool while you prep chicken breasts
  5. Wash breasts and pat dry with paper towel
  6. Rub onion powder, salt, and pepper on each breast
  7. Horizontally slice each breast at its thickest part. Do not slice through. Leave it attached to form a pocket.
  8. Place 2 slices of mozzarella cheese in each pocket
  9. Fill each breast with the sauted mushrooms and seal each breast with a couple of toothpicks.
  10. Remove any extra mushrooms from the pan. Leave any juices in the pan.
  11. Heat this pan and the juices and add the stuffed chicken breasts.
  12. Sear both sides of the breasts until they are golden brown.
  13. Cover pan and place in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
  14. Remove from oven and place chicken breasts on a serving dish to keep warm while you make the sauce
Creamy Sauce
  1. Heat pan with chicken juices on stove
  2. Saute the garlic until fragrant
  3. Add Half & Half
  4. Bring to a simmer and add grated parmesan cheese and any remaining mushrooms
  5. Simmer until cheese has melted
  6. Slowly stir in dissolved corn starch to thicken
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Add parsley
  9. Either add chicken back into this pan or pour sauce over chicken to serve
  10. Serve with a side of your choice of pasta
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