No-Fuss Turkey Gravy

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: No-Fuss Turkey Gravy! So today’s post is one that will either have you running out to the store or shopping online. I’m honestly asking myself why I waited so long. My son introduced me to the secret of having incredibly lump-free gravy. He gifted me with a fat separator which takes all the effort out of skimming the fat from the top of the pan drippings. Just in time for the upcoming holidays, too. This gadget is amazing. It looks like a regular measuring cup with the exception of a spout stopper and strainer. Here’s how it works: make sure the rubber stopper is in the spout. Pour the pan drippings into the cup through the strainer. Allow the drippings to “rest” and separate. The stopper actually prevents fat from flowing into the spout. Remove the stopper and slowly pour the clear broth into a pan. Then discard the fat. You may have to repeat the process if you are making gravy for a crowd. It works like magic.

NO-FUSS TURKEY GRAVY

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

3-4 cups turkey broth, separated

Parsley flakes

Instructions:

Transfer meat drippings from the roaster pan to a sauté pan on the stove over medium heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in water to create a slurry. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan, blending with a wire whisk. Continue to stir as the gravy begins to thicken. At this time, gradually add the strained turkey broth. Alternate stirring and adding liquid until you get the consistency you want. While the gravy is simmering, it will begin to evaporate, making it thicker. If need be, you can add water to thin it down. (My mother taught me to use the potato water I used to boil the mashed potatoes. It adds flavor.) Before serving, sprinkle parsley over top.

Perfect Pot Roast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Perfect Pot Roast! Today all chefs get the day off from cooking. Seriously. This one-pot meal will turn out perfectly, as long as you ignore it. Use a slow-cooker or a Dutch Baker in a low temperature oven. I actually begin with a frozen chuck roast and forget about it, that is until the savory aromas lightly waft throughout the house. The liquid turns into a pleasant au jus or can be thickened into gravy. Personally, I ladle the juice into a food storage container to use as a sauce for beef carnitas, but that’s another story. Leftovers promise delicious options.

PERFECT POT ROAST

Ingredients:

3-4 pound chuck roast, frozen

3/4 cup vinegar

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup kosher salt (or less)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon oregano

1 pound baby carrots

3-4 white potatoes, skin on, quartered

2-3 sprigs thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 275°. Place frozen roast in Dutch Baker. Combine vinegar, orange juice, and melted butter. Pour over roast. Sprinkle roast with kosher salt, garlic powder, and oregano. Lay thyme sprigs across the top of the meat. Put the lid on the Dutch Baker and bake for 4 hours. Then add carrots and cut-up potatoes to the pot. Reduce oven temperature to 185°. Bake 4 hours longer. The roast is fall-apart tender and ready to serve.

Salisbury Steak

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Salisbury Steak! Everyone knows it’s not really steak, but instead hamburger patties smothered in thick brown gravy. I like to think of it as savory meatloaf patties that are more economical than certified Angus sirloin steak. And honestly, I’ve never heard a single complaint when serving this American favorite. Add mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetable. It takes less than hour to prepare from start to finish.

SALISBURY STEAK

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef, lean

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1/3 dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon Lea and Perrins sauce

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 tablespoon olive oil

For Gravy:

2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

Instructions:

Combine ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, Lea and Perrins sauce, egg, and parsley in a medium bowl. Mix well and form into meat patties. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the patties 4-5 minutes, then flip and brown 4 minutes longer. Remove from skillet. Add olive oil and mushrooms to the skillet over medium heat. Cook until soft. Sprinkle flour over all. Gradually add beef broth. Using a whisk, stir to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil. As the sauce thickens, reduce heat and cook for 1 minute longer. Return Salisbury steaks to pan. Coat with gravy. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Shepherd’s Pie! Chicken or Beef? That’s the biggest decision you need to make with this tasty comfort food recipe. If you follow tradition, no doubt you would choose beef. That’s fine. I, on the other hand, was in the mood for chicken. Either way the cheesy potato crust, over a savory blanket of gravy, is the star attraction. If you are searching for a great weeknight meal without all the fuss, warm up your kitchen, kick back, and relax.

SHEPHERD’S PIE

Ingredients:

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and cut into chunks

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 cup mashed potatoes

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the cream of mushroom soup and water in a large bowl. Stir well. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add chicken chunks, black pepper, onion powder, and poultry seasoning. Cook until well browned. Transfer the chicken to the soup mixture. Add mixed vegetables. Stir to coat. Spoon chicken filling into a 2-quart casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes over chicken layer. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until chicken filling is hot and bubbly.

Upright Pot Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Upright Pot Pie! Do you ever have those nights when you can’t decide what to cook for dinner? You look in the refrigerator and all you see are leftovers? Again? Well, I had made a beef pot roast earlier in the week, so all the ingredients were on hand to make individual servings of pot pies. Obviously, if you don’t have mashed potatoes and gravy on hand, you can improvise. Keep it upright by filling custard dishes with single servings and then top them off with crescent roll pastry sheets. It requires very little effort, but the taste is home cooking at its best.

UPRIGHT POT PIE

Ingredients:

2 cups beef pot roast, chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 cup brown gravy

1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Crescent rolls

1/2 cup baby carrots

1 cup mashed potatoes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. Add beef and stir. Reduce heat and gradually add gravy and mixed vegetables. Spoon mixture in ungreased single serving custard cups. Transfer cups to a baking sheet, in case they bubble over while baking. Remove dough from tube. Do not separate into triangles. Place one square over each custard dish. Press lightly around edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve with mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

Southern-Style Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Southern-Style Sausage Gravy and Biscuits! Some call it “comfort food”, others say it reminds them of Home. Whether you’re from the southern states or not, this meal is a hardy choice for an early breakfast, mid-day brunch, or late-night dinner. Add a side of tomatoes, eggs, cheese, or grits and you’ll soon have another family favorite.

SOUTHERN-STYLE SAUSAGE GRAVY AND BISCUITS

Ingredients:

12-ounces of bulk pork sausage

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

1 tube buttermilk biscuits

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown sausage with black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally. It will be crumbly when cooked through. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan, melt butter and remaining 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt over medium-low heat, being careful not to scorch. Add flour all at once into the butter to make a roux. Whisk vigorously for about one minute. The mixture will thin and begin to bubble. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for two minutes more, stirring occasionally. Continue whisking and gradually pour the milk into the mixture, eliminating any lumps. Bring the gravy to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and gently simmer for two minutes longer or until thickened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the gravy, reserving 1/3 cup for garnish. Meanwhile, bake biscuits according to package directions. Remove from oven.

Split biscuits in half and top with sausage gravy. Sprinkle crumbled sausage over all and serve immediately.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Y

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes! You say pō-tay-toe, I say pō-tah-toe, but either way we all love mashed potatoes. My husband would forego the milk completely and focus instead on more French butter. So we compromise. By choosing the beautifully yellow Yukon Gold variety, you’re already getting an earthy, buttery flavor to begin with, thus leaving room for milk, cream cheese, or sour cream additions. Mash up Yukons for the fluffiest, smoothest mound of creaminess. Mmmm. Just don’t forget the gravy.

YUKON GOLD MASHED POTATOES

Ingredients:

2 pounds yellow-skinned Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1/2-3/4 cup milk, warmed

Instructions:

Place cut potatoes into a 2-quart pan with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add sea salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to medium heat and cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove pan from heat. Drain potatoes, leaving them in the pan. Add butter. Cover the pan with the lid. Warm the milk slightly in the microwave. Using a hand mixer, begin adding milk in 1/4 cup increments. Beat potatoes until slightly chunky texture is reached. Continue on for a smoother consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with brown gravy.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter L

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Loco Moco! Living up to its name, this breakfast food is actually one of Hawaii’s local favorites. The serving size is so generous you might think it’s way too much for breakfast. I didn’t eat the rest of the day after trying it at a local restaurant there. However, when you prepare it at home, you have more control over serving sizes as well as the time of day for this meal. Basically, it is composed of four layers. The bottom is fried rice, the middle is a beef patty, the next is an egg over easy. And the top layer is a ladle of gravy. Don’t knock it till you try it!

LOCO MOCO

Ingredients for Rice Layer:

1 cup prepared brown rice

1 strips bacon, crisp and crumbled

1 sausage patty, crumbed*

2 ounces smoked sausage,

cut-up

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons onion, cut-up

*Hawaiians favor SPAM.

Instructions for Rice Layer:

In large skillet add sesame oil and sauté onions. Add remaining ingredients. Stir fry to blend flavors. Set aside.

Ingredients for Beef Patty Layer:

4 1/4-pound beef patties

1 can beef consommé

Dash of pepper

Instructions for Beef Patty Layer:

Cook beef in consommé until tender. I did this the day before in my slow-cooker. It’s worth the effort! Save the broth for turning into gravy.

Ingredients for Egg Layer:

4 fresh eggs

Instructions for Egg Layer:

Cook on stove to make eggs over-easy (or sunny-side up) so the yolks are still runny.

Ingredients for Gravy Layer:

1 cup beef consommé*

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

*Add water if necessary to make one cup of liquid.

Instructions for Gravy Layer:

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour to the butter and stir to make a roux. Cook over medium-low heat until the flour is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the consommé juices and stir until thickened.

Now serve by assembling the layers in a shallow bowl: rice, beef, egg, and gravy. Loco Moco!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter P

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Positively Popular Poutine! While traveling to Canada recently, I was taken aback by a friendly waitress who recommended a very popular dish on the menu made with crispy French fries, fresh cheese curds, and rich brown gravy. She called it Poutine. Like a deer in the headlights, I was completely frozen at the thought. So I shook my head no, thanked her, and ordered my fries plain. By the end of the meal I was convinced I had missed out on something spectacular. Practically every restaurant listed Poutine as their specialty. Some Poutine platters were loaded with bacon, others chunk lobster, beef brisket, jerk chicken, or sautéed veggies. One place even boasted “Award Winning Poutine” and stayed open til 4:00 a.m. just to meet the late-night cravings of college students. Maybe this dish will catch on, after all. 
POSITIVELY POPULAR POUTINE 
Ingredients:

2 pound bag of frozen extra crispy seasoned crinkle fries

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 cups cheddar cheese curds, white and yellow 

1-2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons cornstarch 

1/4 cup cold water

2 cups beef broth 

Fresh parsley to garnish 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange frozen French fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. For the gravy, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not scorch. Whisk together cornstarch and cold water until no lumps remain. Add cornstarch mixture to melted butter, stirring constantly. Gradually add beef broth, continuing to stir until all broth is used. Bring gravy to a boil, as you stir. Allow gravy to boil at least one minute to dissolve thickener. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Divide the crinkle fries among serving bowls. Cover each bowl with cheese curds. Ladle rich brown gravy over each portion. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.