How Turkeys Are Raised, Turkey Giveaways and Must-Try Recipes

Everywhere you turn this time of year, it is all about turkeys. We are in the post pumpkin pre Christmas tree season. And while turkeys are beginning to fill the bins at the grocery store, I thought I would share little peek into what a turkey farmer and farm is today.

Turkey farm family from Iowa
Meet the Olthoff family. They raise 20,000 turkeys. They get all 20,000 male baby turkeys (poults) at 1 day old.  The baby turkeys are delivered to a toasty warm barn. The temperature in the barn is controlled by a thermostat, and there are vents that open and close automatically to help adjust it if needed.  The turkeys are not in cages – instead they are on sawdust bedding from a local sawmill.

Baby Turkeys getting their new home.

When the turkeys are five weeks old they get moved to new barns where they spend the rest of their lives, about 14 more weeks. While the turkeys they raise are used in lunchmeat, the process for whole turkeys like we eat for Thanksgiving are raised in the same way. Want to know more? Be sure to check out the children’s book they just published. And win it and a turkey!

Whole Turkey Giveaway

That’s right, I am giving away a turkey. You can choose the turkey of your choice from Honey Baked Ham. You can choose whole turkeys that are browned and roasted, smoked or cajun. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which kind of turkey you would love to have on Thanksgiving!

While we all plan and plot what to make for Turkey day, here are a few tried and trued recommendations from a few of my favorite bloggers.


Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

Brined Thanksgiving TurkeyCrock Pot Turkey Breast

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

Side Dishes:

Crock Pot Corn Casserole

Crock Pot Corn CasseroleSlow Cooker Cornbread Dressing

Slow Cooker Cornbread DressingMom’s Turkey Dressing

Mom's Turkey DressingHis and Her Sweet Potato Casserole

His and Her Sweet Potato CasseroleCandied Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Candied Sweet Potatoes with PecansButternut Squash Souffle

Butternut squash souffleMelissa’s Macaroni and Cheese 

Melissa's Macaroni and Cheese

Italian Green Beans

Italian Green BeansGreen Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions. The most amazing slow cooked mushrooms are so amazing.


24 Hour Fruit Salad

24 Hour Fruit Salad

Cranberry Salad 

Cranberry Salad

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing


Pumpkin Squares

Pumpkin Squares

Southern Pecan Pie

Southern Pecan Pie

 Pumpkin Crunch

My favorite pumpkin crunch recipe is an easy fall dessert. It is so good.

Still haven’t seen the recipe you are craving. Well check out the Holiday Pinterest board for Recipes That Crock.

Need help with the leftovers? Check out this turkey rice soup. Or this entire list of leftover Thanksgiving recipes that utilized all the leftovers, not just the turkey.

Don’t forget to register to win a whole turkey, fully cooked and a children’s book about a turkey farm. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which kind of turkey you would love to have on Thanksgiving! You can choose whole turkeys that are browned and roasted, smoked or cajun. The giveaway will close on November 17 at midnight. Be sure not to miss out!

 This post was sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Opinions and recommendations are all mine.

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions. The most amazing slow cooked mushrooms are so amazing.There is this restaurant in western Indiana called the Beef House. I grew up going to the restaurant for special events or meetings with my parents. While it obviously has great, midwestern beef and some pretty legendary rolls and strawberry jam, it also has these amazing mushrooms. So amazing they only serve them in the evening. Which makes me sad because most of the time we go there midday on the weekends. But no longer will I bee without my mushrooms. My friend shared a recipe with me that pretty much captures the flavor. Perfectly. These mushrooms are  mind blowingly good. If you like mushrooms that is.

Mushrooms and onions for slow cooker mushrooms. Now you will want to make a lot of these puppies. Trust me. Start with four pounds of mushrooms, four cloves of garlic and a large sweet onion or two smaller ones. Clean your mushrooms, slice your onions and mince your garlic and put all into a large six or seven quart crock pot.

Mushrooms and onions in a crock pot.It is all about the fluid then. A cup of red wine, a cup of hot water, a pound of butter aka four sticks of butter, along with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of dried herbs like dill or thyme, and four beef and four chicken bouillon cubes.

Butter and bouillon cubes for crock pot mushroomsPour over top of mushrooms and cook for at least 12 hours on low heat.

Mushrooms and onions in red wine and butter slow cooks for 12 hours.The aroma of the mushrooms will have you craving them before they are done. Just let them be. They will reduce quite a bit during cooking and of course turn a darker brown color.

Crock pot mushrooms and onions with red wine, butter and garlic are so amazing. This recipe is so easy and just requires patience as the mushrooms slow cook away.

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Onions
  • 4 pounds of whole button mushrooms
  • 1 large sweet onion or two small/medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound of butter (4 sticks), melted - Make sure it is the real stuff
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dill or thyme or other herb
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  1. Place mushrooms, onions and garlic in a six or seven quart crock pot.
  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over top of the mushrooms.
  3. Slow cook on low for at least 12 hours.

Butternut Squash Souffle – Day 6 #FarmsMatter

In the fall all the local farm markets are full of pumpkins and squash. Where I live I am lucky enough to have two farm families who raise produce and multitudes of squash. Every year I think this will be the year I raise my own squash, but by early fall, I am over keeping plants alive and just go to the farm markets. Once again, I am thankful for farm families that can A. keep the squash vines alive and B. do the manual labor it takes to grow and pick all of the squash. During growing seasons, these families don’t get days off or time away from the farm. If they aren’t in the field they are at the community farmer’s markets or manning their own markets.

Hackman's marketWhile they make beautiful decorations, I have had the introduction to a more motivating reason to fill my house with squash. This sweet butternut squash souffle will change the way you look at squash. No longer will my squash wined up in the compost pile.

Butternut squash souffleNot sure you can make a souffle? Think again. This souffle is worth trying, and I promise you won’t have to worry about it falling! Start by either roasting or steaming the squash once you have peeled and chunked the squash. I normally steam it for 10-15 minutes in the microwave. I have a microwave steamer. If you don’t, just put it in a flat dish and cover with saran wrap with a small portion vented. Then it is just a matter of pureeing with a stick blender, standard blender or food processor.

Butternut squash souffleThe squash is cooked when it is fork tender. Add a couple table spoons of butter and puree. In the same bowl add brown sugar, milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Once it is all mixed together and smooth, pour into a greased casserole pan and bake on 350 degrees for an 50-60 minutes. Then enjoy right with your dinner. Yes, it is sweet, but next to a spicy smoked beef sandwich it will leave you with an empty pan. Your friends will ask for the recipe while men and children are shocked this is squash. Little do they know that this is just a crustless pumpkin pie sans the whip cream.

butternut squash souffleNow, hurry out and by some butternut squash before they are all gone till next fall!

Butternut Squash Souffle
The flavors of fall explode in this butternut squash souffle. A sweet casserole that will surely become a staple in your fall meals.
  • 2 cups pureed butternut squash
  • 1 cup brown sugar or ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Steam or roast peeled squash and puree. Measure out two cups.
  2. Blend or puree all the ingredients together till smooth. Pour into greased 1.5 quart casserole dish.
  3. Bake on 350 for 50-60 minutes or till the souffle is set much like a pumpkin pie.

This post is part of the 30 days series over on Prairie Farmer. Be sure to check out the five things Holly will be talking about all month long while you are there! Be sure to see all my 30 Days of #FarmsMatter posts.

Del Monte Can Creation Giveway Featuring Warm Green Bean Potato Salad

The fine folks over to Del Monte sent me a welcomed package after just moving to our new house. A big box of canned goods! While I love fresh and frozen vegetables, the convenience of canned vegetables leaves me coming back to them. So, when we had friends over for steak dinner grill night, the canned veggies came in handy. And a great bottle of wine!

wine connoisseurWhen we grill steak, the steak ends up taking up the majority of the steak. Makes having baked potatoes difficult. Makes fitting veggies in hard too. I did a little searching for a new, easy way to combine the potatoes and veggies and settled on a warm green bean potato salad.

warm green bean potato salad

While the steaks went on the grill, I added the red potatoes cut into quarters, peeled and smashed a few garlic and covered them with garlic. At the same time I fried up some bacon in a large cast iron skillet. Once the potatoes were soft, I tossed them over in to the skillet with bacon grease to crisp up and then transferred them to a separate serving dish. Once the steaks were ready to be pulled from the grill, I drained two cans of green beans and poured them into the same bacon laden skillet to fry up.

making green bean potato salad

The great thing about canned veggies, they cook quick and are ready just in time. Plus, they are canned at their peak of ripeness. Right before I transferred the beans to the pan the potatoes were in, I squeezed some lemon juice over top.

lemon juice over friend green beansWhat makes anything good, great? BACoN!!! Be sure to sprinkle plenty of that bacon over top of the potato salad.

Want to win your own prize pack? You know you do! Who doesn’t want free groceries, especially ones that are convenient to use in a pinch. This prize pack could be yours!

Del Monte Prize Pack Final

To enter to win your Del Monte Price Pack, leave a comment telling me what your favorite recipe using canned fruits or veggies. This giveaway will end June 6 at midnight.

Don’t miss out on other giveaways and recipes from Be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Del Monte provided me with the canned goods and resources for other ingredients. Opinions are all mine.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

How do you get your meat and potato loving family members to eat spinach? Add bacon of course! And not only do you add bacon to the salad, but add it to the dressing too.

Bacon on Spinach SaladI am becoming obsessed with hot bacon dressing. Obsessed.

Hot Bacon DressingAnd both began with frying bacon.

frying baconFor a salad that uses a pound of baby spinach, I use a pound of bacon. That is a one to one ratio people. We take our bacon very seriously.

Fried Bacon BitsAnd our bacon grease very seriously. Save that stuff when you are done frying up your bacon. I pour the bacon grease through a strainer that is lined with a coffee filter to help clean out any grit or burnt pieces.

Purify bacon greasebacon greaseThe dressing starts with a third to a half cup of bacon grease. Then add red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, finely diced onion and garlic, sugar, salt and pepper.

bacon dressing ingredientsWhisk together and add a 1/4 cup of water.

Hot Bacon DressingThe salad portion that I use is just baby spinach, tomatoes, red onions and tomatoes.

Spinach SaladI add hard boiled eggs to the top of my salad and drizzle the warm dressing over top.

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Divinely flavorful “diet” food.

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
A quick and easy salad with a warm dressing that has a mixture of tangy sweetness and salty from the bacon.
Spinach Salad
  • 1 pound bag of baby spinach
  • 1 red onion, half sliced in 1 in. piece and other half reserved
  • 4 roma tomatoes diced
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled with grease reserved
Hot Bacon Dressing
  • ½ cup bacon grease
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ red onion finely diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup bacon crumbles from salad
  1. Pour spinach into large bowl. Top with Salad toppings except for eggs.
  2. Serve salad in individual bowls. Serve salad topped with eggs and drizzled with dressing.
  1. Pour ⅓ cup warm bacon grease through a coffee filter lined strainer into 2 or 4 cup measuring cup.
  2. Add vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Saute onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes in a tablespoon of bacon grease. Add onion and garlic to mixture of bacon grease and vinegar.
  4. Whisk together. Add a splash of water if needs to be thinned a bit.
  5. Add bacon crumbles and stir before drizzling over salad.

What is on your plate this week? I am eating everything topped with bacon dressing:)

Abuelo’s Papas con Chile – Mexican Mashed Potatoes

It’s that time of month again…Crazy Cooking Challenge time! This month’s challenge is mashed potatoes. I instantly knew what I want to make. I had seen Abuelos Papas con Chile recipe over on Mommy Travels and was just waiting for the right time to make them. These will become a staple in our house. They were fantastic!

Simply start by boiling red potatoes that have been quartered.

I then prepped the rest of the ingredients.

Once the potatoes were soft, I added the remaining ingredients – peppers, onions, velveeta, cream cheese, sour cream, cream, garlic and green onions.

I used a hand masher to incorporate all the ingredients into the potatoes.

They were divine smelling. Let’s be honest, I stuck my finger in for a big taste.

Papas Con Chile Recipe also known as Mexican Mashed Potatoes

I had made carnitas in the crock pot and these potatoes were the perfect side dish.

Be sure to check out some other great mashed potato recipes at the blog hop below. Press the like button under my thumbnail too!

Abuelo’s Papas con Chile - Mexican Mashed Potatoes
Loaded Mashed Potatoes. Mexican style. What more do I need to say?
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 10 ounces Velveeta, cubed
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ diced red bell peppers
  • 2-4 ounce cans of chopped green chiles
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped jalapeno, seeded
  1. Place cubed potatoes into a pot of water covering completely. Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and return to pan.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to potatoes. Mash potatoes until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Hunk of Meat Monday: Quick sides for your hunks

I have to admit something. Sometimes, we eat leftovers 3 or 4 times from the same original meal. This week was one of them. I was out of town for work one night. So, before I left I threw some Italian Beef in the crock pot so the hubby wouldn’t have to think about supper.

But, when I got home the next night, I asked him what he fed with the Italian Beef. His response, pears. Ugh. Sides for the meat…veggies cross your mind dear. So, decided I needed to come up with some quick sides for my hunks of meat. Especially since these recipes from last week are on my “to make” list for go to meals during the week.

I love broccoli and rice casseroles, but usually it takes a short time to make it and then at least another 30 minutes to bake. Not ideal for a week night for this working mom. So, I decided I was going to try to create a stove top recipe for broccoli and rice casserole. And it turned out fantastic!

I started with make a box of rice pilaf or long grain rice mix or even a box of broccoli flavored rice. You know what I am talking about.

With about five minutes left on the rice, I threw one of those microwave steam packages of broccoli in the microwave. A girl’s best friend if you haven’t tried them. I love the fact that Costco sells them in mass quantity.

Then I grabbed the ingredients that would make this “edible” in my husaband’s view. Yep, a can of cream of mushroom soup and some cheese. I use a cup of shredded cheese. Use what you have. I had sharp cheddar.

Mix the soup and cheese into the rice.

Then mix the broccoli into the rice mixture. I added about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. This is optional but added a crunch and of course nutty flavor that I loved.

Once the cheese is all melted, you are ready to serve!

Everyone enjoyed it, but some more than others. What everyone loved where the potato wedges drenched in shredded cheese. I baked potato wedges that the nice people at the Ore Ida also call Texas Crispers. Once they were baked, I piled them on a plate, sprinkled with shredded cheese and stuck under the broiler for a few minutes.

 Now, that you know what my sides are for the week, show me your meat! What do you all have cooking this week.

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Crispy Zucchini Fritters – Gooseberry Patch Recipe #10!

These pretty little crispy zucchini fritters are the tenth and final recipe out of the Gooseberry Patch Farmers’ Market Favorites Cookbook in the Real Farmwives in the kitchen project. And boy did we end with a great recipe!

I started with four medium zucchinis that I shredded in my food processor. I then put it in a strainer, salted it and let it sit as the excess liquid drained off.

Then I got my helper cracking eggs. Two eggs, some salt and pepper where whisked together.

We stirred in the zucchini and 1/2 cup of flour.

And then we went off recipe. Yep, that is grated Parmesan cheese. I dumped about 1/2 cup into the mixture.

Stir it all together.

Then add some EVOO to a skillet and warm up and spoon the mixture into the pan. Let fry on each side for about 2 minutes.

I then of course garnished with more Parmesan cheese. The kids and hubs dipped the fritters into ranch. But they dip everything in ranch dressing, so I am not sure it was necessary.

Guess what comes next???? Cookbook giveaway!!! Check back soon for the giveaway to start.

Gooseberry Patch gave me the Farmers’ Market Favorites cookbook free of charge. After I prepare 10 recipes I will have a free cookbook to give away to one of my readers.

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