This post is presented in partnership with Swanson. Thanks for supporting companies I believe in, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you.
This time of year always brings out the party bug in me and the holiday season and entertaining go hand in hand. Swinging their joyously clasped palms in unison as they skip along and infest everyone they see with a big dose of cheer.
Parties. Entertaining. Friends and family. When the party bug in me invites the cooking bug to the festivities, that’s when I get busy in the kitchen.
I’ve always been a holiday cook. As a kid I would bake for days, striving to create the best lemon bars on the planet while snacking on my Mom’s Best Homemade Fudge. As an adult, I’m now the hostess hoping to be the mostess for Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas brunches where without fail, we make this every single year.
But it wasn’t always that way.
As a kid, our family almost always did the same celebratory traipsing when it came to holiday time together. Christmas brunch was always at my mom and dad’s house and Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve were always at Grandma Mary Jane’s. It’s so funny to me that we all referred to it as “Grandma’s house” even though Grandpa was always there too. Maybe because she was the heartbeat of the family, adored by her husband, children and their children that the label just stuck.
Grandma was one of those women who just had the “it” factor. Call me biased, but it’s true. The woman possessed poise in the most genuine and accessible way possible, making everyone around her feel instantly part of the fun.
When it came time for entertaining, Grandma M.J. wasn’t one for flash and dash in the kitchen. And when it came to cooking for the family, a dinner from someone else’s manufactured, wholesale kitchen was just not part of the plan.
For Grandma M.J., it was all home cooked. Not because it was the “right” thing to do, it was just what. you. did.
She knew how to bake—her cloverleaf soft white rolls were legendary and my Aunt Shelley swears she made the best apple pie ever. She knew how to entertain—telling story after family story that made the time together everyone’s favorite part of the meal. And she absolutely knew how to cook—serving her grandkids waffles with strips of bacon baked in, 40 years before bacon concoctions were dubbed “a thing.”
If there’s anything I learned from my Grandma M.J., it’s that when food is made with love, everyone loves the food, but it’s always those around you that are the centerpiece of the dinner.
And that’s why I cook.
Because I love being the holiday hero hostess, making people happy through food.
I crave leafing through magazines and trolling through blogs to plot and plan menus.
I get a charge from hitting the stores to shop when the air is positively electrified thanks to the frenzied shoppers.
And I love cooking for those I adore. But, not when my chefing duties take over my party time. Because while I love to cook, I love being a hostess just as much.
I love being able to give my friends a big welcome hug and not have to worry that my back is sweaty thanks to last minute cooking acrobatics. I love my hostessing duties of sharing a cheery toast with my guests and a nibble or two, or maybe eight.
And I love not being strapped to a stove or an oven while everyone else around is having a grand time, visiting, gossiping and comparing ugly holiday sweaters while I’m sweating it out wondering if dinner will, or won’t be served.
Lucky for me Grandma M.J. shared a recipe secret I have fully embraced and was the star of the holiday buffet: her Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano.
The recipe is amazingly simple and all of the work is done ahead of time. Cook the turkey earlier in the day and let it marinade in the lemon and garlic olive oil in the fridge and pop it into the oven to warm just before serving. My favorite sides to go along with it is a crunchy green salad, an au gratin or a potato casserole and fresh, fluffy rolls. I always make little sandwiches with my strips of turkey, perfect for soaking up the lovely lemony marinade.
And just like that I’ve become the happy holiday hero hostess. And that’s why I love to cook.
- 1 3-4 pound boneless fresh turkey breast
- 2 cups Swanson chicken broth
- 1 cup white wine
- juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Place the turkey breast skin side up on the rack and pour the Swanson chicken broth and white wine over the turkey. Squeeze the lemon juice over the turkey breast and set in the pan alongside the turkey to roast. Season the turkey generously with kosher salt and pepper and roast until turkey has come to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Remove the turkey and lemon halves from the pan, reserving the juices, and let rest for 10 minutes. Discard the lemon halves.Slice the turkey thinly and add to a deep sided serving platter or 9 X 12 baking dish.
- Add the olive oil and oregano to the reserved juices and whisk to combine. Pour the reserved juices over the turkey and serve immediately or at room temperature.
This recipe could work equally well with leftover turkey. Just simmer the Swanson chicken broth, wine and lemon juice in a saucepan for 45 minutes to an hour then add the olive oil and oregano and pour over warmed up turkey.
If you’re having a hard time finding a fresh turkey breast, a defrosted version should work fine. Follow package for cooking times.
As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting companies I partner with.
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