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.


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.

    Meatloaf II: Bat out of Hell

    Meatloaf 2I know that there aren’t a lot of recipes on here, so it seems silly to have a second meatloaf recipe, but we really, really like meatloaf at the Mox house.  And, more importantly, I didn’t want to forget how to do this one, which was ad-libbed with ingredients on hand.


    • 2 lbs. ground beef (grass-fed, please!)
    • 1 medium onion, diced fine
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs OR crushed whole-wheat Ritz crackers (I used 1/2 and 1/2)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tbs brown sugar
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 tbs ground yellow mustard (Coleman’s)
    • 1 tbs Hungarian paprika
    • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh sage

    For glaze

    • 1/3 cup ketchup
    • 1 tbs Worcestershire
    • 1/2 to 1 tbs Crystal hot sauce
    • 1 tbs ground cumin


    1. Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients very well in bowl.  On a greased 9 x 13 pan, shape meat mixture into loaf shape.  Dust with additional salt and pepper.  Cook for 1 hour.
    2. Mix ingredients for glaze, remove meatloaf from oven, and coat loaf with glaze.  Cook an additional 15 minutes.
    3. Serve with mashed potatoes and Kristine’s green beans!

    Sausage and Okra Gumbo

    We can have an argument about ‘authenticity’ if you like, but I believe that ‘authentic’ gumbo is whatever you happen to like (and have on hand).  Having been in Texas for so long, we are partial to beef smoked sausage, and with other roots in the Dirty South, we try to work okra into as many dishes as possible.  Sure, some shrimp or lump crab meat would have been good, too, but those ingredients are fairly expensive in Chicago!

    In my book, gumbo ought to be po’ folk food, so if it starts to get expensive or glamorous, you’re doing it wrong.


    • 1/2 cup bacon drippings
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 bell pepper, diced fine
    • 1 rib celery, diced fine
    • 1 medium onion, diced fine
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lb. beef smoked sausage, sliced
    • 5 cups beef broth
    • 3 cups water
    • 1/2 tbls sugar
    • salt, to taste
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 tbls Crystal hot sauce
    • 1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, or to taste
    • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can of stewed tomatoes
    • 1/2 (6 oz) can of tomato sauce
    • 1 lb. package of chopped, frozen okra
    • 1 tbls white vinegar
    • 1 tbls Worcestershire sauce


    1. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat in a large stockpot.  Whisk in flour to make a roux, stirring constantly until a medium-light-brown color is reached (mahogany?).  This may take 20 minutes or more – watch the heat and stir frequently to avoid burning the roux.
    2. Stir in vegetables and saute for a few minutes, until softened.  Add in sausage, stir, and heat through, until fat begins to render.
    3. Add in stock and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add in sugar, salt, hot sauce, seasoning blend, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.
    4. After the hour, heat 1 tbls of oil or bacon drippings in a skillet, add okra and salt to taste, and saute until heated through.  Add vinegar and Worcestershire and continue to saute for a few minutes.
    5. Remove okra from skillet with slotted spoon and add to gumbo.  Simmer for as long as you can stand it, but at least for 20 minutes more.  Serve over cooked rice and with fresh French bread.

    Zesty Basil-Lemon Penne

    Here is a dish that we made from ingredients on hand.  In this case, “we” refers not to me and Kristine, but me and Bubba Jack!  He loves to help out when we cook, and he added all of my ingredients to the pan for me, including the fresh pepper.  He’s also learning how to best present food – he was insistent on a garnish!

    Do not be fooled, however.  Although he was eager to help cook this one, he had no desire whatsoever to taste it.


    • 8 oz. whole-wheat penne
    • 1 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • 1 Fresno chile, diced
    • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, diced
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 cup broccoli spears, steamed
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese


    1. Prepare to cook pasta.  While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large saute pan and add carrots and peppers.  Saute for two minutes, until carrot begins to soften.  Add lemon and garlic and reduce heat to medium – saute for a minute or two, but do not let garlic brown.  And please remember to use salt during all of this!
    2. Add in wine and toss pan.  Add mushrooms and broccoli and stir to coat.  Cook for two minutes or so, until broccoli begins to soften.  When pasta is al dente, drain and add to pan.  Toss to coat and add basil.  Toss and cook briefly.  Add Parmesan and toss to coat.  Add fresh-ground black pepper to taste.
    3. Serve in a large bowl, topped with additional Parmesan cheese and garnished with a basil leaf, if so desired.