Spatchcock Roast Turkey
There are several benefits to roasting a turkey in this method. The cooking time is shorter; the bird cooks and browns evenly and is easier to handle for carving. Because you have to remove the backbone that can be used to make a delicious stock so you will have plenty on hand for gravy.
Once the turkey has finished cooking, the oven can be loaded with the oven side dishes. Using either the Convection Roast (a little extra heat is good for roasting vegetables) or Convection Bake mode, the side dishes will be ready to serve once the turkey has rested and been carved, and you have made the gravy.
Spatchcoking and Seasoning the Turkey
Ideally begin this a day or two in advance of cooking.
Place the bird breast side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Holding it firmly in place with one hand, cut down one side of the backbone with a sharp knife or poultry shears to detach the thigh bone from the breastbone. It takes some effort, so go slowly. Continue cutting along the backbone, through the rib cage to the wing and detach the wing joint. Repeat on the other side then remove the backbone. To flatten the turkey, place your hand on one side of the breast and press down until you hear the bone crack. Repeat these steps on the other side.
Season the turkey with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator at least 2 hours in advance of cooking to lose the chill. At that time you can add some flavoring ingredients to the pan: onion and garlic, parsley and thyme sprigs and sprinkle the turkey with your preferred seasoning. Place the turkey on the pan and brush with some olive or vegetable oil.
Heat the oven in the Convection Roast Mode 400 degrees.
The turkey should be cooked in a shallow pan with or without a rack. If your oven has an internal meat probe, insert the needle into the thickest part of the breast, taking care not to touch bone and when you slide the turkey into the oven program the meat probe to reach an internal temperature of 165°F. While the turkey is resting it will come to the perfect carving temperature of approximately 180 - 185 degrees.
Allow approximately 1 hour for a 10 - 12lb turkey to roast in this method and 1 hour 15 mins for a 12 - 15lb turkey to cook to perfection.
Whether you are eating a low-carb diet or have a glut of zucchini, this recipe using zucchini slices instead of noodles is definitely worth a try. The preparation is simplified because you can “pre-cook” the zucchini slices at the same time on multiple trays using Convection; that way they won’t give off as much water and they will be more flavorful.
Prepare a simple meat sauce, assemble your cheeses and some fresh herbs and your delicious lasagna will come together in no time. The lasagna can also be prepared without meat substituting sautéd vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers or eggplant for the meat layer. Overall preparation time is about 40 minutes and the baking time for the lasagna is also approximately 40 minutes.
3 large zucchini, end trimmed, cut lengthwise into ¼” thick slices
½ tsp dried oregano
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp mixed Italian seasoning
1 24oz jar pasta sauce
Pinch dried red chili flakes
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella or 4 cheese blend
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil and oregano leaves
¼ cup pesto sauce
You will need a 1 9x13” oven casserole dish.
Heat the oven in the Convection or Convection Bake mode at 400 degrees.
Arrange the zucchini onto 2 lightly oiled rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle the zucchini with a little kosher salt, cracked pepper, oregano and drizzle or spray a little more olive oil on the top. Slide the trays into the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until beginning to brown at the edges. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large heavy pan over medium heat, add a light film of oil to the pan, increase the heat to medium high and add the ground beef. Sear the meat, breaking it up with the back of a spoon until evenly browned. This can be done in batches if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Place the pan back on the stove and heat over medium heat. Add the remainder of the olive oil and saute the onion until softened. Stir in the garlic and seasoning and cook for a minute or two. Now add in the pasta sauce, reserving ½ a cup to spread on the bottom of the baking dish and the cooked beef and a sprinkle of dried red chili flakes. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
While the meat sauce is cooking, combine the ricotta cheese with the shredded Parmesan cheese and egg, stir in the fresh herbs and add a grind or two of freshly cracked pepper.
Arrange the oven racks so one is in the lower third of the oven and change the oven heating mode to Convection Bake 350 degrees. In this mode heat will be directed to the top and bottom of the casserole and the Convection fan will circulate the heat around the oven.
Spread the reserved ½ cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish and arrange a layer of zucchini slices across the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the meat sauce and spread half of the ricotta mixture over that, finishing with a sprinkle of ½ a cup of the shredded mozzarella.
Repeat the layers, finishing with a final layer of zucchini slices, spread the pesto over the zucchini and the final ½ cup of shredded mozzarella. Place the lasagna in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. For a golden crust, change the oven mode to Broil 425 degrees for 5 minutes at the end of the cooking time.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
Shepherd’s Pie with Seitan
Another dish on the list of popular comfort foods, this version from Susanne Jensen will show you just how delicious a plant based version of this dish can be. If you don’t have a big group to feed you can easily portion this casserole into smaller portions and freeze some for later use.
2 - tablespoons oil
1 - yellow onion, diced
3 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - teaspoon thyme
2 - carrots, finely diced
1 - rutabaga, finely dice
1 - pound seitan, ground in a food processor or meat grinder
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ - teaspoons salt ¼ t- easpoon pepper
2 - cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons vegetable powder
1 - tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons cold - water ½ - cup fresh or frozen peas
3 - large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add rutabaga and carrot and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add thyme, seitan, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, water with vegetable powder and cook for 6-8 minutes.
4. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook until vegetable seitan mixture has slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute.
5. Stir in peas.
6. Meanwhile steam the potatoes in 1 cup of water over moderate heat until very tender. Mash with some butter and milk until creamy.
7. Assemble shepherd’s pie by adding vegetables to a baking pan and cover with mashed potatoes.
8. When ready to serve, preheat the oven in the Convection Bake Mode 400 degrees and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown (40 minutes if the casserole has been refrigerated.)
Serves 6 - 8
Cauliflower Mc & Cheese
Convection Bake Mode
This delicious version of perhaps the most popular comfort food incorporates some steamed cauliflower but you could also substitute broccoli if you prefer.
3 - cups elbow pasta
2 - cups, small cauliflower or broccoli florets
3 - tablespoons butter
3 - tablespoons all purpose flour
2 - cups milk
1 - teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 - cup grated Jack cheese
2 - cups grated Cheddar cheese
¼ - cup fine breadcrumbs mixed with
¼ - cup grated Parmesan cheese and
2 - tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook the pasta in 8 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt, drain and rinse in cold water.
Steam the cauliflower and when cooked combine with the pasta.
Heat the butter in a small heavy saucepan, add the flour and stir to blend.
Cook for a few minutes taking care not to let the butter get too dark.
Whisk in the milk and cook over moderate heat until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese whisking until it is all blended, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 350 degrees (using Convection ensures even heat distribution and enables you to roast some meat or vegetables on another rack at the same time)
Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and cauliflower and pour into an oiled oven casserole dish (approx 9 x 13) cover and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb, parsley, Parmesan cheese mixture over the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the topping has browned.
Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mozzarella and Pesto
Convection or Convection Bake
I won’t kid you, Lasagna always takes work but the efforts are always worthwhile and in this version the zucchini “noodles” are easily prepared at the same time using Convection.
It takes about 10 minutes to slice the zucchini and about 20 minutes to cook and cool them.
The turkey filling takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook and while that is cooking you can assemble the other ingredients so you are ready to layer everything into the casserole for baking. Once everything is prepped, layering the lasagna into the casserole is easy.
6 - large zucchini, ends trimmed each cut lengthwise into 6 ¼” thick slices
½ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 - lb ground dark turkey meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 - medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 - cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of ground chili flakes if you like some spice
1 - 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - 15oz container Ricotta cheese
1 - 4 oz container Pesto (or ½ cup homemade)
1 ½ - lbs shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Bake 400 degrees
Lay the zucchini slices onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with the seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until softened, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, when hot add the oil and butter and when the butter sizzles increase the heat and add the ground turkey. Break it up with a fork and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Turn off the heat and remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Return the pan to heat and over moderate heat saute the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook over moderate heat breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon (you can use chopped tomatoes if you prefer) then stir in the tomato paste. Add the browned turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layering the Lasagna
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven casserole dish and add one layer of the cooked zucchini noodles.
Add half of the turkey mixture, spread over the noodles and top with a cup of mozzarella cheese
Add another layer of noodles and spread the ricotta over the noodles, or flatten a few tablespoons between your palms and place over the noodles.
Gently spread a layer of pesto over the ricotta and top with another loosely packed cup of mozzarella and another layer of noodles
Add the remainder of the turkey, another cup of cheese and the final layer of noodles.
Spread a little more pesto over the top of the noodles and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 325 degrees
Cut a sheet of foil to fit the casserole and lightly oil the non-shiny side.
Cover the casserole loosely so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, allow the casserole to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
Chocolate Pecan Pie
This recipe for pecan pie strikes the perfect balance of great flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. Instead of using corn syrup the recipe calls for a more natural sweetener. Good choices are agave syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or honey. I included a few tablespoons of molasses because I was a little short of agave syrup and it was delicious.
It is not a big pie, in fact I bake it in a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom and it’s only about ¾ “ in depth, perfect for a sliver of something sweet without being overwhelming.
If you don’t have time to make the pastry then just make the filling and add to a frozen 9” pie crust.
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch, Kosher salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup ice cold water
½ cup sugar
¼ stick, unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ agave nectar, maple syrup, honey or brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Organize the oven racks so you can bake on rack position 2, one up from the bottom rack.
Heat the oven in the Convection Bake mode 350°F or Bake mode 375°F.
Beat the sugar and butter in a medium bowl then stir in the flour. Stir in the syrup and vanilla then with the motor running add the eggs, one at a time. F finally add the pecans and chocolate chips.
Carefully pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until set.