The Lettuce Wrap

Good morning, blog readers! Guess what? I actually cooked a dinner this week! Yes, amid my very busy schedule of late, I finally managed to make a meal. It was delicious!

At our house, we love lettuce wraps. I didn’t even have to search for a recipe on Pinterest, because this one is already a family favourite.

Ingredients:

– 1 head lettuce
– 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
– 2 packages of lean ground turkey meat (or beef, if that is your preference)
– Hoisin sauce
– Soy sauce
– Ginger (peeled and minced from chunk no larger than the pad of your thumb)
– 2-4 large carrots
*Note: This recipe is also very good if you add chopped water chestnuts – we just didn’t have any)

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Directions: (for the crockpot – I will write about doing it in a pan instead at the end)

1. Lightly coat the bottom of the crockpot with sauce (both a dab of hoisin and some soy sauce).

2. Put ground meat into the crock pot. Mine was partially frozen still, but thawed would be better.

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3. Top the meat with dribble of sauce.

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4. Add ginger (I used a chunk no larger than the pad of my thumb, peeled it, and used my special mincer to mince it) and garlic.

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5. Put crockpot on high for several hours (could be 5 or 6, even longer, depending on when the meat is cooked). I opened my crockpot up several times throughout the day and “chunked” up the ground meat, though I suppose this could be done at the end.

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6. I added more sauce throughout the cooking process and also scooped out some of the liquid from the thawed meat after it had been cooked. When you know the meat is done, have a taste of the mixture to make sure the spices are to your liking. Add more soy or hoisin if needed.

7. Once it has been cooked, clean a head of lettuce and peel off the layers, trying to keep each layer in tact to create little lettuce bowls.

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8. Peel and shred 2-4 carrots (I peeled four in the photo, but only grated 3).

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9. Add carrots and mix.

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10. Serve. I put the meat in a large bowl and place in the centre of the table with a serving spoon. Each person can take a “bowl” of lettuce and fill with meat mixture.

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**How to cook this in a pan:

Mix all ingredients (except carrots) in a deep pan and cook until meat is done. Add carrots at the end and serve.

*Note: This can get really messy, so I would eat over a plate or bowl.

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This is a delicious meal that my husband and kids love. I like my crockpot version, but it is faster in the pan. Over all a favourite in our house!

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Enjoy and thank you for reading!

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The Perogie Casserole, with Turkey

Good morning, blog readers!

Today I’m writing about a new discovery of mine. The Perogie Casserole. In this case, I used our turkey leftovers in it, but ordinarily I do not.

I found this particular recipe on the back of the perogie package, but I’ve added little differences.

The ingredients:

– Perogies (we use frozen)
– 2 cans of Cream of Potato soup
– Broccoli (we often use carrots here; sometimes both)
– Cheese – shredded (the variety is your choice. In this case we used white cheddar)
– Leftover turkey meat (you could use chicken or if you want, no meat at all)
– Tomatoes (larger tomatoes chopped, or small tomatoes)

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Directions: (preheat oven to 360 degrees F)

1. Open can of soup and put into bottom of casserole dish.

2. Mix in 1/2 can of water and stir.

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3. Add chopped turkey over soup.

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4. Chop vegetables and add 1/2 over turkey.

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5. Cover with perogies.

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6. Add remainder of veggies over perogies.

7. Add the other can of soup on top and “smooth” over with the back of a spoon so that the surfaces are covered.

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8. Top with shredded cheese.

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9. Put it in the oven at 360 degrees F for 25 minutes. I usually watch it after the 25 minute mark to check its progress. Sometimes it isn’t quite ready. Wait until the cheese is golden brown or bubbly. Remove from oven.

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10. Scoop out and serve, topped with chopped tomatoes.

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Thank you all for reading! Have a great weekend!

The Turkey – Thanksgiving (part 1 of 4)

Good morning, happy blog readers!

Today I’m writing part 1 in our Thanksgiving dinner experience. (Part 2 will be vegetables and gravy, Part 3 will be the biscuits, and Part 4 will be dessert).

Firstly, I would like to strongly suggest that you throw the bird’s “package” (if it came in one of those shrink-wrap bags) when it says how long you should let it sit in your fridge and then out in the open, completely out the window. Because let me tell you something… they’re wrong. We had the turkey in our fridge for 15 hours (more than their recommended 8) and then on our counter for several more (again, longer than their recommended amount), and I tell you something, it was still a frozen block of ice when we tried to work with it. We were running out of time, so we ended up sticking it in the microwave on the “defrost” setting for over half an hour. And it was still frozen. We couldn’t even get the giblets out of it. Hubby ended up sticking the whole bird in the sink under running hot water to get the thing to thaw enough for him to take the giblets out. It was ridiculous.

On that note, I would highly recommend that you ensure that your turkey is thawing properly or acquire a fresh one. Next year I think we’ll go with fresh.

Anyway, when it came to preparing the turkey, we followed this video. This is what we did:

First we prepared the ingredients in the rub:

– 1 cup butter
– 1 lemon
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic
– Salt
– Pepper
– Olive oil
– Parsley, freshly chopped
– Bacon fat (refrigerated)

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The steps:

1. Put the butter into a bowl (ours was fresh out of the fridge, which made this process so much more challenging; the butter wouldn’t mix properly with the other ingredients an was rather chunky. I would suggest using softened butter.)

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2. Add salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil, and minced garlic.

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3. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the mixture. *note: I made the mistake of not removing the seeds… do not make my mistake. It took far too long to dig beneath the butter chunks to find all the seeds.

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4. This is where we added our bacon fat. This is completely non-obligatory. We like to add it because it adds flavour and salt to the bird. Plus it makes the most delicious gravy! We scooped out a spoonful and added it to the butter.

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5. Add in parsley (I forgot to take a photo – sorry!) and mix it all together with your hands.

6. Carefully fit your fingers beneath the skin of the turkey (but not too much), gently creating a space there.

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7. Grab handfuls of the butter mixture (up until about half of it is gone) and put beneath turkey’s skin, spreading it as far as it can go.

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8. Cover the turkey’s skin with the remainder of the butter mixture. (Again, this would be much easier if the butter had been softened.)

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9. Lightly drizzle olive oil on top (to keep butter from burning) and put it in the oven! We had ours in at 350 degrees F for four-five hours. Keep an eye on it and keep basting! We set a timer for every half an hour for basting. (The butter mixture melts and creates the juices at the bottom of the turkey pan.)

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*Note: We used a turkey thermometer to make sure that all the meat had been cooked properly.

Voila! Our turkey!

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Final thought: Because of the butter mixture and our consistent basting, the turkey turned out moist and flavourful. Seriously. Amazing! The lemon, garlic, and parsley added so much to the flavour and scent of the turkey, one could eat it without the need for gravy. Mmm… I might just have some left-overs for breakfast…

Tune in for the next part where I talk about our veggies, mashed potatoes, and gravy!

Have a great one! Thank you for reading!