A Small Batch Thanksgiving — Brown Sugar Rubbed Turkey Roast and Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts

728There are three days until Thanksgiving so it is time to post the center piece of our Thanksgiving feast …. turkey and stuffing.  This year I went traditional for the meat part of my meal.  I found a 3 pound turkey roast that was just the perfect size for one.  I know that it isn’t the prettiest when it come out of the bag because it is made up of pieces of turkey rather than a whole turkey breast. Once you rub it and cook it, roast looks just as nice as a whole breast without all the leftovers. You will have plenty of time to thaw the turkey roast too.  It only takes a day or so in the fridge.

Brown Sugar Rubbed Turkey Breast

1 3 lb turkey roast

2 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp dried mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat the turkey with paper towels to dry.  Mix the brown sugar, parsley flakes, paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cinnamon, pepper and ginger in a bowl.  Pat the rub all over the turkey.  Arrange the turkey in a baking pan and roast until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours  Let rest before slicing.


For the stuffing this year I used wild rice and my favorite, cranberries.  Since this recipe is a little heavy on the prep time cook the Wild and Basmati rice the night before and finish it off in the oven Thanksgiving day.

Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice

1/2 cup uncooked Basmati rice

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 TBS chopped walnuts

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir in Basmati rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in cranberries, parsley, thyme, and walnuts, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 1/2  quart baking dish. Transfer rice mixture to dish and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Italian Spice Rub for Chicken and Pork


A few weeks ago I had an experience that affected my belief in the basic goodness of my fellow human beings.  It left me a little bitter and a whole lot angry.  I was kind of falling into a dark place.  This afternoon something happened that reminded me, there are good people in the world and I needed to come back from that dark place and rejoin the good side of the world again.

This afternoon I was trying to help a customer.  There had been some kind of glitch in our computer system and it wasn’t taking her card, no matter what I did.  My customer was getting frustrated and I was getting frustrated.  This random lady walked up to my customer, handed her a 100 dollar bill and said “if you are having trouble with your card, use this.” As my customer and I stared at this lady, not quite knowing if she was serious or not, she walked out the front door and disappeared.  My random customer didn’t wait for her change, a receipt or information so she could be paid be back.  She just saw my customer need help and helped.  I know not all of us can give random people 100 dollar bills but if we see a need, whatever it is,  shouldn’t we stop and help if we can?  Wouldn’t it be a better world if we helped people instead of taking advantage of them? Just something to think about.

Italian Spice Rub for Chicken and Pork

1 TBS brown sugar

1 1/2 to 2 tsp kosher salt

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS basil

1 TBS parsley

Combine all ingredients together and mix well.  When ready to make dinner, use the spice blend to generously coat both sides of the chicken or pork. Use your favorite method to cook your chicken or pork. 


BBQ Dry Rub

John Lennon said “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Last week was  a perfect example of that.  I planned a series of posts for the week as I always do but a glitchy computer, a very ill rat, and several nights with about three hours of sleep a night kind of put an end to that.

I felt about bad not posting last week.  I cooked every day but it was just everyday comfort food. Not food that was not at all blog worthy or had already been put posted on the blog.  The only new, remotely interesting thing I tried  was  a new dry rub.

I was skeptical this rub would work with the large amount of salt and sugar but it is a very pleasant rub. The recipe has a large quantity left over. This is because I have decided to make this my general, all purpose rub.

BBQ Dry Rub

7 TBS kosher salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients together, mix well. Store in an airtight container
In a cool, dark place.

Magazine Monday — BBQ Ribs

IMG_1832Can you believe I have lived 46 years, spent about 15 years cooking and almost 2 years as a food blogger and never made BBQ ribs until Christmas eve 2015?

Since I am usually home alone Christmas eve, it has been my tradition to make an outrageous homemade pizza and watch my favorite horror movies. Hey! It’s my Christmas tradition don’t judge. As if the abdominal snowman from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer isn’t as scary as hell! No? Okay, maybe that’s just me. Seriously, that thing gave me nightmares as a child.

I don’t know why I decided to change it up for Christmas eve and do ribs (still did the horror movies though) but I did. I figured I could always do a big bowl of popcorn if it was a disaster. I am nothing if not flexible.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to use plan b. I spice rubbed my ribs and threw them in the fridge while I was at work. When I got home I threw the ribs into a preheated oven and let the ribs cook for two and a half hours while I watched The Conjuring, then I made my sauce. I slathered the ribs with sauce and baked them for another 40 minutes. They were so good! I will be making ribs more often.

BBQ Ribs

1-2 lbs bone in ribs, your choice of beef or pork
Dry Rub
1 1/2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS water
2 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
2 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS plus 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Several hours before you plan to cook your ribs, rub them with the spice rub, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your ribs in a baking dish that can hold them in a single layer. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Cover ribs with sauce and bake another 30 – 40 minutes. Enjoy!

A Solitary Thanksgiving Feast– Spiced Cornish Game Hen

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Finding a suitable main course for my solitary Thanksgiving feast was difficult. I wanted something that didn’t leave tons of leftovers and didn’t cost a fortune but also seemed special, not something you would have at just any meal. I finally settled on Cornish game hens.

I think Cornish game hens are nice alternative to turkey. You get all the positives of turkey, the dramatic presentation of a whole bird, the choice between light and dark meat, and they taste good. You get none of the negatives, the dried out meat, the hefty price tag, the hours in the kitchen cooking the dang thing and more leftovers then you can ever eat. And let’s face it, anything in miniature is just darn cute.

The spice rub makes enough for two 1 1/2 pound Cornish game hens. If you only do one save the rest of the rub in a small jar or baggie and use it on chicken later.

Spice Rubbed Cornish Game Hen

1-2 Cornish hens (approximately 1 1/2 pound each)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 TBS spice rub
1 1/2 tsp canola oil

Spice Rub
1 TBS paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse each game hen under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff the cavity of each hen with 1/2 of the lemon wedges and half the cloves of garlic. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients. Mix the oil and 1 tablespoon of the rub together into a paste. Rub each bird on the outside with the rub mixture. Arrange birds on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes. Check for doneness with a digital thermometer by reading the temperature measured at the thickest part (usually right between the thigh and body of the bird.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Adapted from The Guilty Kitchen