Product Review: President’s Choice Stuffed Young Turkey

president's choice stuffed young turkey

For (Canadian) Thanksgiving this year, I prepared President’s Choice Stuffed Young Turkey. It was upon one of my elder’s insistence that I roasted a frozen, butter-injected, pre-stuffed bird as part of our clan’s tradition. Normally we have the Butterball variety, but I rebelled and chose a different brand. Plus, I was lazy. As much as I love brining and lubing up my own poultry, I had a hectic week leading up to this weekend.

Here I review the PC Stuffed Young Turkey in terms of quality and ease of use. Please note that at the time of writing this post, there was no page on the President’s Choice website for this product. This page is for a similar product, the PC Young Turkey Basted with Real Butter.

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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Entree, Frozen, Product Review


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One Way to Deal with Boneless, Skinless Turkey Breasts

baked skinless boneless turkey breast with herbs

Boneless, skinless turkey breasts: a risk I took at the grocery store this past weekend. How could they possibly come out not dry and rubbery? I did not want to lube them up with butter or bacon, and I did not have ingredients for any half-decent braising liquid. I’m a bit sick of slow cooker food right now and I was too lazy to cut up the meat for a pasta, stew, or soup.

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Chicken, Gluten-Free, Recipe, Roast, Turkey


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Quick Tuna and Corn Pasta – Hot or Cold

tuna corn pasta mayonnaise mustard salad

Welcome back to foodNowYes with an open-minded student dish that can be served hot or cold. Comforting spaghetti is mixed with canned tuna, canned corn, and a few condiments you already have in the fridge to quickly give you a meal at the end of a long day or for your bagged lunch the next day. It has a weight and richness reminiscent of pasta carbonara, alfredo, or traditional pasta salad, but in actuality it is not nearly as heavy or dairy-soaked. The key to making this dish make you feel good afterwards is to not eat too much of it and to eat it with a big, leafy salad.

In a different light: this is my lower-cal take on Mama June’s tuna noodle casserole. Or: I hate macaroni salad, but this improved version is lighter and not as creepy-looking.

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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Fusion, Pasta, Recipe, Salad, Seafood


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No-Browning-Required Slow Cooker Cabbage ‘Roll’ Soup

slow cooker cabbage roll soup

Here is a beautifully lazy and delicious soup that consists of the ingredients one would use to make slave-away-all-day cabbage rolls. One could brown the meat before stuffing the slow cooker for the day, but it’s not necessary. The meat will fully cook when left in a slow cooker for the day. Plus, if one searches for ‘traditional cabbage roll’, one will see that the resulting recipes call for filling cabbage rolls with raw meat before baking. Therefore this recipe is… more… traditional?

I’m tired.

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Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad with Goat Cheese, Arugula, Walnuts, and Cranberries

wild rice and quinoa salad with goat cheese, arugula

This ‘grain’ salad is great as a meatless summer lunch or dinner. You could also serve it as a starter or side for a more elaborate dining experience. The sweetness of cranberries and the tanginess of goat cheese build on a starchy base of wild rice and quinoa, with the bonus texture and pepperiness of arugula. It has a good blend of oils from the walnuts and olive oil to give you nice hair and skin.  It’s packed with protein without being too hot and heavy, which hopefully will not worsen your current stick-to-your-seat and leave-a-sweaty-bum-print situation brought upon by the summer weather.

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Slow Cooker Ratatouille, for the 21st Century Peasant

slow cooker ratatouille

I’m back again. Hugs of reassurance to you if you missed me.

I suppose we have an animated film to thank for a generation of young Americans that know how to pronounce the word ‘ratatouille’ at least somewhat correctly. Some portion of that cohort also knows that ratatouille is a vegetable dish of southern France. A quick Google search will tell you that there are many different ways to prepare ratatouille, e.g. carefully layered and roasted, sautéed then simmered, or slapped together into a slow cooker before leaving for the day. Well boy howdy guess which category this recipe falls into.

Ratatouille can be eaten as a meatless main by itself, or with bread or polenta. It can also be served as a side to accompany… I guess a piece of grilled fish or a nice big sausage.

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No-Browning-Required Ground Beef and Chipotle Slow Cooker Chili

slow cooker chili no brown beef chipotle beans

There exist reasons to brown meat before stewing/braising/whatevering it, but they are not all necessarily legit. There is no need to pre-cook meat when it will be immersed in near-boiling liquid for several hours. Similarly, browning meat will not retain its moisture if it is to be surrounded by even more moisture for a long cooking period. If one is using a fatty cut of meat or ground meat of a high fat percentage for a soup or stew, that fat can be skimmed off of the surface during simmering, if desired. Or, resolve that issue by using leaner meat.

There is one good reason to brown meat before slow-cooking it: the Maillard Reaction. To grossly simplify, it means proteins + sugar + heat –> various dark, delicious, aromatic compounds. Ultimately there is a definitely a difference in flavour between a chili whose meat and onions were browned before slow-cooking verses a straight-up boiled chili. But if you don’t have the time/patience for this step, I suggest a pseudo-substitute here. A combination of chili peppers in adobo sauce and ketchup provides a flavour that is similar (but of course not identical) to the smoky sweetness of browned meat.

This recipe is for a northern North American chili/English chili con carne for the slow cooker (by that I mean it is cheap and contains beans). Browning the ground meat before slow-cooking would be a wonderful bonus, but it is not required to produce a perfectly edible and tasty weeknight meal that is bold with different flavours.

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