Turkey Tips: How to Brine a Bird

Brine is a basic salt-and-water solution that helps your turkey retain more moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. Giving your bird a long, luxurious brine bath is a simple way to guard against dry meat. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you’ll have your best turkey yet. Here are some of our essential brining tips:

  • Be sure to choose a container that’s large enough to hold the bird and the brine. It also needs to be able to fit in your refrigerator or a large cooler.
  • Plan to brine your turkey for at least 24 to 36 hours.
  • To minimize clean-up, line a large 3-5 gallon container with an oven roasting bag. Add your turkey and cooled brine, then place the container in a fridge or cooler with ice.
  • Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be safe. There are many variables that come into play: from the temperature of the turkey, to an inaccurate oven, to frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature) and even the temperature of the stuffing.
  • Let the turkey rest. A rest period before carving is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—carving it too soon could release them, resulting in a dried-out texture.
  • The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 lbs. and up to 1 hour for large birds around 20 lbs. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating sides.
  • Invest in a digital thermometer. If there’s one thing I would love to see in every kitchen across America, it’s an easy-to-use, digital read probe thermometer. Even if you’re just checking the proper doneness of poultry, it’s worth the investment.


How to Carve a Whole Turkey

Use a sharp Knife: You’ll have the best results with a carving set containing a long, thin-bladed carving knife (to make easy work of the slicing) and a two-pronged meat fork (to hold the bird steady and help with the actual serving). Be sure the knife is good and sharp—you may even want to plan ahead and have it professionally sharpened.

LET IT REST: After roasting, let the turkey rest on the serving platter for 30 to 45 minutes. The bird will not get cold during the rest period. However, the hot juices (which have been moving around inside the bird) will settle and soak back into the meat. Remember: don’t carve it too soon! You’ll want to retain as much juice as possible.

CARVE IN PRIVACY: Don’t feel that you have to carve the turkey at the table and let everyone admire your masterpiece. Then, duck into the kitchen and carve in privacy. In the meantime, you can ask the guests to start passing around the sides.

CARVE IT ALL: We find it much easier to carve up the entire bird instead of serving the old-fashioned way, one guest at a time. This makes it possible to separate the white and dark meat before serving (and allows for a better presentation). Cut the turkey into its major sections on the platter, and then do the actual carving on a wooden or plastic board, preferably with a well to contain the juices.

REMOVE THE STUFFING: If you’ve stuffed the turkey, scoop the stuffing into a serving bowl before carving. Cover the dish with its lid or aluminum foil to keep it warm.

A JUICY TIDBIT: Pour any carving juices from the board over the sliced meat. Then, ladle about half a cup of piping-hot turkey or chicken broth over the carved meat on the platter. Your turkey is now beautifully carved, steaming, juicy and ready to serve!

3 Healthy Mushroom Dish Recipes

Award-winning Chef Angelo Loria is pulling out his favorite healthy recipes so that we can spice up our cooking with in-season vegetables.

Today, it’s all about mushrooms, which are in season in the month of January.

These delicious, umami-packed fungi are healthy, low in sodium and calories and are cholesterol-free.  They’re also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

To boot, they taste good in almost any dish and can be very easy to cook. Here are Chef Angelo’s favorite mushroom-packed recipes.


The Blended Burger

Burger Patties:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb mixed portabella, shiitake, and crimini mushrooms cleaned and chopped
1⁄4 cup red wine
2/3 pound ground sirloin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Form patties and grill

Mushroom and Beef Tacos

1 tbsp vegetable oil
½  pound white button mushrooms, ground
½  pound ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cups diced onions
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chile powder blend
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt

ground black pepper, to taste
lime juice, to taste about 2 tablespoons

12 fresh corn tortillas taco shells, warmed
1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup salsa of your choice
1 avocado cut into 12 slices
6 oz. grated cotjia cheese (or Monterey jack cheese)
Ground black pepper, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
12 cilantro sprigs for garnish

Directions: Heat a 10 inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan, then the onions and season with a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions over medium heat until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the mushroom-beef mixture and chile powder. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes until the flavors meld and warm through. Stir in the cilantro and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Keep warm.

To assemble: Place 1 tablespoon of shredded cabbage on a warm taco shell . Top with 2 tablespoons of mushroom and meat mixture. Top with a generous tablespoon of salsa, a slice of avocado, some cotija cheese, lime juice, and a sprig of cilantro.

Mushroom, Chicken and Quinoa

Yield: 6 servings

Serving size: 1 cup


1 cups quinoa
Cooking spray
½  pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼  cup olive oil (divided)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound shitake mushrooms, halved
½  red onions, cut into ½-inch dice
1 small red chili pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
1 large green bell peppers, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
1 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
¼  cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼  cup fresh scallions, chopped
¼  teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾  teaspoons sea salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
1 T  cup balsamic vinegar
¼  cups Cotija or skim milk mozzarella cheese, crumbled

Directions: Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Place in a large stockpot with 2 cups of water; simmer 15 – 20 minutes. Remove cooked quinoa to a 2-gallon bowl; partially cover and keep warm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a hotel pan with nonstick spray; lay out chicken breasts and roast for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until cooled. Once cooled, cut into 1-inch pieces.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. In a large bowl toss together 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, onion, peppers, parsley, scallions and red pepper flakes. Place mix on sheet pan and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes.

Stir cooked vegetables into warm quinoa; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and remaining 1 cup olive oil. Toss until evenly mixed.

Stir in diced chicken and cheese; toss again. Serve warm.

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken with Brussel Sprouts & Roasted Potato Medley – Dinner for Two

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil


  1. Remove Skin
  2. Lay chicken thighs into the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker
  3. Whisk soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic and basil together in a bowl; pour over the chicken
  4. Cook on Low for 6 hours


Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 pkg. Vince & Joe’s pre-packaged Brussel Sprouts
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil


  1. Cut bottom of sprout off then cut in half
  2. Lay cut sprout on flat side then Julienne (cut thin)
  3. Using a 12” sauté pan; put on medium heat
  4. Once pan has been heated up add oil and cut sprouts
  5. Cook for 3-5 minutes
  6. Salt & Pepper to taste


Roasted Potato Medley

  • 2 Purple Potatoes
  • 2 Redskin Potatoes
  • 2 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ½ Teaspoon Oregano (Dry)
  • ½ Teaspoon Thyme (Dry)
  • ½ Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut all potatoes into quarters
  3. Toss in bowl with oil & seasonings
  4. Place on baking sheet (skin side down)
  5. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes