Spiced Turkey Breast

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The president came to town two days ago, guys.

My town, that is. If any of you out there follow news from The White House, then you may have read or seen that President Barack Obama was in East Lansing, MI on Friday afternoon for a few hours to sign a new agricultural bill at Michigan State University (which also happens to be my alma mater). It’s not everyday that the President comes to town- especially this lame town- so, it created somewhat of a stir in the media in the days leading up to his visit. I’ve been a fan/admirer/supporter/whatever you wanna call it of Barack Obama since before he was even elected into office, so I was happy that he was stopping by my hometown and my school…partly.

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The actual signing and remarks that he gave were closed to the general public (meaning you either had to be a government official, related to one, or somebody with a lot of money & connections- of which I am neither), so I couldn’t be there in person to see him and was relegated to watching the whole she-bang at home on television. It all felt kinda bittersweet.

See, this isn’t the first time that Barack Obama’s been to East Lansing. He also came to Michigan State University all the way back in 2008 when he was still campaigning in his first bid for the presidency. I was just a sophomore back then, so I still lived on campus at the time. It was a Thursday that he came back then. I think that presidential elections usually bring about a general kind of high charged atmosphere, particularly in the fall when it gets close to Election Day.  But that first time that then-Senator Obama came to MSU…the atmosphere was positively electric on campus. Special police forces were called in for security and crowd control. Roads were blocked off. It was pretty much a given to most students on campus that if you didn’t have a test or quiz (or weren’t exactly…fans of the presidential candidate) then you were going to skip class to try and get a spot on the field where the rally was being set up. Heck, I even knew people that planned on voting Republican that year that were still planning on going to hear Barack Obama speak, if nothing else for the historical implications of the event. It was one of those things where “everyone” was going to go and be apart of.

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October 2nd, 2008-The day we made Obama an Honorary “Spartan for Life”

Which was why it sucked so badly that yours truly was not at the rally with everyone else seeing the man who would become the first African American man elected President of the United States speak, but instead at her job in the dorm cafeteria. Yours truly was a broke college student that couldn’t afford to take off work from either one of her three jobs at the time. So she missed her chance to see the future-President when he came to town for the first time, just like I was denied my chance to see him two days ago when he came again for the second time.

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February 7th, 2014- I’m not a member of, or family member of a member of Congress. I’m also not rich or ‘well connected’, so this is the day that I’m yet again denied the chance to see President Obama speak in person. Just saying.

It’s all good though, guys. I’m not bitter about it. Good things come in threes, so the way I figure it: the President will somehow, for some reason come back to Lansing for a third time within the next couple of years and the stars will somehow align so that I’ll be able to go and see him in person without any hindrances or obstacles- right? Of course right.

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I kinda liken this recipe to  this story in that they both feel like things that are definitely right place, but wrong time kind of things. For a long time now, I’ve had a crazy craving to have turkey and gravy with stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce. My American friends will know that these are typically foods that aren’t eaten at this type of year, but instead around November for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas.  But yeeeeeah: my tastebuds weren’t gonna wait that long to kill that craving again, so I just finally decided to roast a bird and throw the other stuff together anyway, and to heck with holiday traditions. To make things easier on myself, I did decide to just cook a turkey breast (which is my favorite part of poultry anyway). I went with the same recipe for homemade cranberry sauce that I used for Thanksgiving, and also found a very quick and easy recipe for stuffing muffins using only Stovetop mix (I’ll post it later this week) that took me literally less then five minutes to put together. It all hit the spot…then made bomb.com leftovers when I smashed them all together between two pieces of toast.

Sometimes it’s about right place, wrong time- then sometimes it’s about right place and making your own time.

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Spiced Turkey Breast

Recipe Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (4 1/2 to 5-pound) turkey breast, on the bone, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 10 cipollini onions
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, garlic, cumin, oregano, allspice, chili powder, brown sugar and oil.

3. Place the turkey breast in a nine by thirteen-inch roasting pan. Spread the softened butter over the top and side of the turkey, then spread the mustard mixture over the top and sides of the turkey to form a crust.

4. Add the onions, carrots, and chicken stock to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes.

5. Cover the pan loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 175 degrees F. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

6. Remove the vegetables and arrange on a serving platter. Remove the turkey and place on a cutting board.

7. Pour about 1/2 cup of the pan juices into a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the remaining pan juices. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Season the pan juices with salt and pepper and pour into a serving pitcher.

To serve, slice the turkey into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the turkey slices on the serving platter with the roasted vegetables and serve with the pan juices.

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Buffalo Chicken Tenders

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Happy New Year everyone!

We made it to 2014, guys. I hope everyone’s New Year’s Eve was lots of fun and that you spent it surrounded by your loved ones. Did everyone stay up nice and late? Did you save a glass of champagne for me? No? Oh, okay.

Today is a very important day, and not just because it’s the first day of the new year. Something very important is happening today. Any guesses? None?

I’ll give you a hint- it involves roses. Lots and lots of roses…

Random, but very important fact about me guys: I’m an alumni of Michigan State University. A proud alumni. So proud, I’m gonna boast about my school for the next solid paragraph:

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Michigan State University {MSU} is:

  • Among the largest single-campus residence hall system in the country with 27 residence halls in five neighborhoods and two apartment villages. There are 538 buildings, including 95 academic buildings. 
  • Nickname: Spartans,  Colors: Green and white,  Mascot: Sparty (Three-time national top collegiate mascot), Conference: Big Ten
  • Outstanding record of students earning prestigious national and international scholarships: Goldwater, 34; Rhodes, 16; Churchill, 16; Truman, 16; Marshall, 16; Udall, nine; Hollings, six; Gates, three; and Mitchell, one.
  • More than 275 study abroad programs on all continents in more than 60 countries (yes, that does include Antarctica. I’m serious.)

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If none of that is impressive enough, then try this one on for size: today, the MSU football team will be competing in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, CA. For my international readers, and non-College football fans (you poor unfortunate souls, you) I’ll give a brief explanation: the Rose Bowl is a championship game matching up the top 2 teams from the Big 10 Conference (mainly mid-west schools) and the Pacific- 12 Conference (schools in the far west). It’s a pretty big deal. As not only a die-hard, I-bleed-green, Spartan fan, but also a college football lover, I am needless to say, SO proud of my team for making it to the Rose Bowl. So much so, that I wanted to try and do a recipe that would pay some kind of homage to the game taking place tonight.

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Well, trying to create a dish around roses was rather tricky. It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of any, I know you can use rose petals or rose water in food. It was just that the idea of trying to hunt down a recipe with either one of those very pricey ingredients that may not even turn out good (considering I’ve never used either) wasn’t worth the effort to me- at least not now. Besides, since this recipe was supposed to be for a football game I decided that less was more and to just keep things simple. What’s one of the top foods that people love to eat when watching ‘The Game’? Buffalo Chicken. I’m not a huge fan of chicken wings, but I LOVE buffalo chicken tenders, so I decided to go with that.

I used a bag of frozen pre-cut chicken strips I got from my grocery store and thawed, but buying boneless, skinless chicken breast and cutting them up will work just as well with this recipe.  There are two things I will insist on though: ‘double dipping’ the chicken in both the egg wash and flour, and having a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack on top to let the chicken rest. The first will make sure that you have a nice, thick n’ crunchy crust on the outside. The second will help make sure that that crust actually sticks and doesn’t slide off when you fry it. Several trials and errors have proven me right. So just take my word for it.

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If you’re a football fan, I hope you’ll join me in watching MSU play (and hopefully win) against Stanford in the Rose Bowl today.

If you’re not a football fan, then I hope you’ll at least give these chicken tenders a try. They’re a real ‘win’.

GO GREEN! GO WHITE! BEAT STANFORD!

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Buffalo Chicken Tenders

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tender strips, patted dry
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce)
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning (like Weber Kick’n Chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup, or 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

 Directions

1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet, or deep pan to 350°. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Line the bottom of a half sheet pan with wax paper. Place wire rack(s) over sheet pan, and spray rack(s) with cooking spray. Set aside.

3. In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and 1/4 cup hot sauce. In a smaller, square dish, mix together the flour, chicken seasoning, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with a fork.

4. Dip chicken tenders into egg mixture, then dip into flour mixture and coat evenly. Place tenders onto wire racks, being careful not to allow them to touch.

5. Repeat step 3, dipping all of the tenders back into egg mixture, then in flour mixture again so that they have a double coating. Place back on wire rack.

6. Fry tenders in hot oil until golden brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Let drain on paper towels when done.

7. Mix together butter, 1/2 cup hot sauce, brown sugar and minced garlic in a large bowl. Add fried tenders to bowl, a few at a time and toss in the sauce with a pair of tongs until evenly coated.

8. Line another sheet pan with parchment paper. Place tenders onto pan and bake for about 5 minutes. Serve.

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