Posted by: meriambull | November 24, 2008

Some Great Tips and Recipes from Mom and a Turkey Tip

My family loves gravy.  Whenever we have anything with gravy I can never make enough.  The problem is I have never really been able to make very good gravy from scratch.  Of course I had high standards because my grandmother made the best gravy ever.  My mom has it perfected, too, so that was a lot to live up to.  Mom has often showed me how to make it and told me how to make it, but I could never remember.  A few weeks ago she sent me the instructions on how to make it and I tried it and thought I made enough for two or three meals.  But, no, we ate almost all of it because it was so good!

Here are Mom’s instructions:

The secret to making good gravy is to add flour before liquid in skillet boils.  I’m following my mom’s example here, and seldom have trouble with lumps!

Brown meat (chicken, pork chops, cubed steak) in skillet.  Remove meat to platter and keep warm.

Stir small amount of water into 1/3 cup regular flour to make a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remember that if you seasoned the meat as you cooked it, you won’t have to add much more salt at this point.

Set skillet to medium high heat.  If there isn’t much fat left in the skillet after browning, add about 2 teaspoons oil.  Pour in 2 cups milk and approx. 2 cups water.  Stir to get all the nice little brown bits into the liquid.  Add flour paste quickly, continuing to stir bottom of pan to remove brown bits. (If liquid is boiling, let it cool first!) Stir constantly until it begins to bubble and thicken.  Taste test to see if you need a little more salt… it is easier to put some in at this point than to take it out!!

If gravy isn’t thick enough, let cool slightly and add another bit of flour (1 Tablespoon) mixed in water to make paste.  Put back on burner and bring to boil again, stirring constantly.  That should do it!

When I made the gravy I had made a porkroast in the crockpot.  I skipped the browning part at the beginning since that happened in the morning.  I just took my skillet and put the broth from the roast in it to make the gravy.  For Thanksgiving you can take the broth from your turkey pan.

Another recipe from my mom is her homemade microwave popcorn.  I was worried when she told me about it because I really like the buttery store bought microwave popcorn and was never a big fan of the old fashioned air pop popcorn machine we used to use.  (Unless it was to make caramel corn.)  But we grew up making stove top homemade popcorn and that is what her microwave popcorn tasted like, only not as greasy.

Items to purchase:  Brown lunch bags, bag of regular popcorn (I like white kernels best), butter flavored spray (Pam or your favorite brand).

Put level tablespoon of popcorn kernels in bag.  Fold down from top – two folds,  approx size of fold ¾ inch.

Put bag (long side down) in microwave and pop as you would regular “store bought” popcorn.

CAUTION:  Stay with it .. when kernels stop popping, remove immediately.  It burns quickly!

Put popped kernels into bowl.  Spray with butter spray, sprinkle salt; shake and repeat (2-3 more times).  Enjoy your healthier and much cheaper treat.

It really is good!  But do be aware that it may not work with the popcorn button on your microwave.

My friend Jason gave me this recipe for turkey that he got from our friend Greg.  If you only want to do a turkey breast instead of a full turkey I highly recommend this.  HOWEVER only try this if you have a large crock pot.  I have a seven quart crock pot and it barely fit.  Jason said he had to cut some chunks off his turkey to make it fit in his.  So if you have a crock pot that is smaller than 6 quarts, you might want to invest in a larger one or borrow a larger one from a friend.

1 bone in turkey breast (MUST be bone in)

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1/2 cup orange juice

Place thawed turkey breast in crock pot.  Combine cranberry sauce and orange juice. Pour over top of turkey and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.  Even if you are not a big cranberry fan you will like this.  You would not even know the cranberry flavor is there!  Happy Thanksgiving!



  1. I’m impressed. Three recipes in one post. I have to agree, Grandmommy made the best gravy, and Mom is not very far behind her Mom.

    I have another suggestion for turkey cooking in two words. Smoke It. I smoked a 20 pound bird last Wednesday for our Wednesday night meal, it turned out perfect. Keep your smoker between 250 and 300, and it should be done in about 8 or 9 hours. I highly recommend using a remote thermometer. Stick the probe in the breast. I did not put anything on the turkey. I just made sure it was thawed, pulled the extras out (make sure to check both cavities), and put it in the smoker (breast side up). I used “Cowboy Charcoal”, it is a natural lump charcoal I get from Lowe’s, and Hickory chunks for the smoke. I’ve done this before, and overcooked the bird, since then I have discovered the importance of constant temperature, thus the natural lump charcoal not briquettes, and the use of the remote thermometer. I also cooked two chickens at the same time for two co-workers, they said they were great.

  2. Yes, Dan, it was an ambitious post. I must admit (sorry, Dan) I’m not a big fan of smoked turkey. What on earth do you do with the leftovers? But then, you probably wouldn’t try the cranberry turkey, either. I’m willing to try yours though. It’s okay if we can polish it off in one day and I’d love to try the chicken.

  3. What do you do with leftovers? Smoked turkey sandwiches, plus I gave the carcass to a friend and she made soup for our cell group. For those of you who are still skeptical about smoked turkey, ever notice the big turkey legs at fairs/theme parks? They are smoked.

    Less left overs with the chicken, but I usually do two chickens at once. I’ve not tried a beef brisket yet, but boston butt and salmon cannot be cooked in a better way.


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