Holiday Turkey and Ham

Turkey and HamI’m posting this recipes mainly to archive these recipes, since we only cook them once or twice a year.

After sufficient trial and error, we have settled upon these approaches for holiday bird and pig.  (And yes, when faced with the question of ‘turkey or ham?’ our family is an ‘all of the above’ family.)  Several years ago, we started cooking our turkey in an electric roaster, out of convenience, but have come to realize it is the absolutely best way to roast the bird.  As for ham, it is very straightforward, and the raisin sauce comes courtesy of my Grandma Mox.


For Turkey

  • Whole turkey, 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 stick of salted butter, softened
  • 3 Tb. each, chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley
  • 1 Tb. dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tb. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tb. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 whole sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 to 3 Tb. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For Ham

  • 7 to 10 lb. bone-in ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tb. honey
  • 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tb. raw organic apple cider

For Raisin Sauce

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 blackcurrant jelly
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 2 Tb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground allspice
  • Dash salt


  1. Assuming that your meats are thawed out and ready to go, preheat electric roaster to its maximum temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together butter, chopped herbs, oregano, black pepper, garlic, celery seed, nutmeg, ginger, and paprika.  Set aside.
  3. Place turkey on roasting rack. Stuff turkey with rosemary sprigs, quartered onion, and lemon.  Rub butter mixture underneath skin of turkey.  Coat turkey with olive oil and season liberally.  (Insert remote thermometer into thigh.)
  4. Place turkey inside roaster and cook at maximum temperature for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300.  Pay attention to your internal temperature readings and adjust heat accordingly.  Thigh meat should be cooked to 180 F – once that temperature is reached, hold at that temp for 20 to 30 minutes.  Most importantly – do not open the lid of the roaster until you are ready to carve.
  5. Place the ham, face-side down, in a large oval roasting pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and roast in oven for about an hour (depending on overall cooking time – you will need to reserve 45 minutes of cooking time at end for the glaze.)
  6. While meats are cooking, prepare glaze and sauce.  For glaze, stir together brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, and cider and simmer.
  7. For raisin sauce, mix together all ingredients and simmer until thickened.
  8. Pour glaze all over ham to coat for last 45 minutes.  Recover ham with foil.
  9. Remove turkey and rest for about 15 minutes (or 30…).  Carve and serve!

Vietnamese-style BBQ Chicken

Viet ChickenI keep fiddling around with this basic theme, and I’m not sure if I’ve gotten there yet, but this one is pretty darn good. We love barbeque in general, but it’s also fun to push the boundaries a little.


  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup beer (amber ale works well)
  • 2 Tb. Sambal
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Place chicken in a gallon plastic bag. Mix remaining ingredients except ketchup an honey and pour over chicken.  Toss to coat and marinate for at least two hours.
  2. Remove chicken from bag and reserve marinade.  Grill chicken using indirect grilling.
  3. Meanwhile, combine reserved marinade, ketchup, and honey in a small stockpot and simmer.  Reduce to about half, until a sticky consistency is reached.
  4. Brush chicken with sauce and cook until it ‘sets.’ I also like to give it a little burn over direct heat.

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Sausage and Vegetables

I really need to think of a better name for this. Zucca di Fuego? Whatever – this is an explosively flavorful dish, not to mention being incredibly healthful.


1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbs olive oil
3 cooked Italian-style chicken sausages, diced
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 hot pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 large can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 tbs each, fresh basil and oregano, chopped


1. Cut off stem of squash and then cut in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and place face-down in a roasting pan with about 1/2″ of water. Roast at 375 for 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. While squash is cooling, heat oil in large sauté pan. Fry diced sausages for two minutes, then add bell pepper, celery, and onion. Season to taste and sauté for several minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, and hot peppers, then sauté for an additional few minutes.

3. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce for a minute or two. Add in tomatoes and stir to mix. Season to taste and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in herbs and simmer for additional 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, scrape out squash halves to make “spaghetti.” Top with sauce and grated Parmesan.


Chipotle-honey Grilled Chicken

Jotting this one down before I forget it! Absolutely fabulous marinade and sauce.


3 tbs puréed chipotle en adobo
2 tbs honey
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs cilantro, chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast

For salsa:
1 avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 lime, juiced
3 tbs cilantro, chopped fine
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt


1. Mix all marinade ingredients, save chicken, in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade and set aside.

2. Jab several holes in chicken with a sharp knife. Place chicken in a shallow dish or bag, pour marinade to cover. Marinade for at least 2 hours.

3. To make sauce, blitz reserved marinade in a blender with 1-2 tbs of water.

4. For salsa, mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
Serve with grilled corn on the cob, grilled tomatoes, and avocado salsa.


Chicken and White Bean Chili

So I’ve been forced to confront the fact that my cholesterol levels are way too high for someone my age (or any age, for that matter). Taking a positivist approach, I’m embracing the challenge of creating some healthful, heart-healthy foods that are also flavorful and filling. Here’s one such attempt:


  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tb. chile powder
  • 1-2 tsp. Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cans white kidney beans
  • 2 large cans petite diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup beer
  • Leine’s Chili

    kidney beanWe saw a recipe for “sweet cheeks” chili in a little flyer that came with a seasonal 12-pack of Leinenkugel’s and decided that we’d give it a shot.  We started tweaking it, and before long, we had a totally new recipe.  Kristine and I agreed that it was the best we’ve ever made and would probably be the foundation for a future chili cook-off competition!

    Please note – the ingredients and measurements are from memory, and generally assume that you already know how to cook.


    • Olive oil
    • 1 1/2 lbs. of beef stew meat, cut to 1/2″ cubes
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 T. chili powder
    • 1 T. cumin
    • 1/2 T. parsley, minced
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 bottle Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark (or other dark lager)
    • 1 can tomato sauce
    • 2 small onions, diced fine
    • 1 each green, red, and orange bell pepper, diced
    • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, diced fine
    • 1 T each dried oregano and thyme
    • 2 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning
    • 1 can each of black and red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 can of chili beans, not drained
    • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes
    • Shredded cheese and cilantro, to garnish


    1. In a large mixing bowl, mix beef in oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Toss with hands to coat well.  Cover and marinate, from one hour to overnight.
    2. Heat small amount of oil in a pressure cooker.  Brown beef on all sides in pressure cooker, add beer and tomato sauce (and a little water, if needed, so that beef is completely submerged).  Cook at full pressure for 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, saute onions, celery, and peppers until softened.  Season with salt, pepper, Goya, and herbs.
    4. Depressurize cooker and uncover.  Add in beans, tomatoes, cocoa, and sauteed onions and peppers. Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust seasonings.  Lower heat and simmer for as long as you can stand it.
    5. Serve topped with cheese and cilantro.
    • 1/2 to 1 T. Hershey’s cocoa powder
    • 2 stalks celery, diced

    Braised Chicken in Mushroom-Wine Sauce

    Red Dutch OvenSo we finally ‘retired’ our old Royal Prestige Dutch oven (i.e. it got pretty wrecked, so we threw it out), and since we love our Lodge cast iron skillets so much, we decided to get one of their enamel Dutch ovens.

    So on the day that it came, we didn’t really have any dinner ingredients on hand, so we improvised, as follows:


    • 4 chicken leg quarters
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 tblsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, quartered to bite-size chunks
    • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
    • 6 oz. peeled baby carrots
    • 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, sage, and rosemary
    • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Riesling)
    • 1 can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup


    1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat oil in 6.5 qt. cast-iron Dutch oven (preferably red).  Salt and pepper chicken, then brown on both sides.  Remove to plate.
    2. Add in onions, potatoes, and carrots.  Salt and cook for 5 minutes or so.
    3. Whisk together wine and soup and add to Dutch oven.  Stir well, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add in herbs and add salt and pepper, as necessary.
    4. Add back in chicken, cover, and place in oven.  Cook for at least one hour, until chicken is fork tender.

    Spicy House Burgers

    Fresno PeppersOK – I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture of this one.  But trust me.  It was pretty.

    We are hardcore hamburger enthusiasts, and to be honest, we have a hard time finding a better burger than what we make at the house.  In general, recipes for hamburgers are a little silly, since it really just comes down to ingredients and technique.


    • 1 lb. 90/10 grass-fed ground beef (yes it matters)
    • Salt and pepper (more than you think)
    • 6 to 9 dashes Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 poblano pepper, diced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
    • 1 red fresno pepper, diced
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
    • 4 to 8 oz. white sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
    • 3 whole wheat kaiser rolls
    • Butter, enough to spread on rolls.
    • Sliced vine-ripened tomato
    • Mixed baby greens (spinach, frisee, arugula, red leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce)


    1. Mix diced peppers and mayonnaise.  Put in fridge to get happy.
    2. Heat large flame-proof skillet to med-high heat.  Divide beef into three equal portions and pat into thin patties.  Slap down in the pan, salt-and-pepper side down.  Preheat broiler.
    3. Vigorously salt and pepper top side.  Hit each patty with 2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire.  Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, butter rolls.  Toast under broiler, about 20 seconds or so.
    5. Flip burgers, cover, and cook for another two minutes or so.  Uncover burgers and continue to cook.
    6. Top burgers with sliced jalapenos, if desired.  Also top with sliced cheese.  Slide pan under broiler until cheese melts a bit, about 15 seconds.
    7. Spread spicy mayo on both sides of roll.  Top with spring mix and tomato.

    We serve with roasted potatoes (house recipe – to follow).  But it’s always good with French fries or sweet potato fries.