6 Ways to Stick to your Holiday Hosting Budget

You’re in charge of hosting this year’s holiday dinner. You want things to be perfect so you’re stocking up on everything you think you need for the perfect evening.

Before you know it, you’re spending more money than you wanted and you don’t have half the items you need yet. We’ve all been there.

Luckily the best parties don’t have to be the most expensive. Here’s how you can successfully host a holiday bash on a budget.

  1. Make a game plan. Create lists of everything you need – food (don’t forget your Butterball turkey), drinks and decorating extras. This will keep you organized and on track when making purchases. Resist the urge to add in items that aren’t on your list while shopping. Need a little help creating your list? Start here, then add and subtract to make it your own. (read more)
  2. Why not DIY? When it comes to decorating your place for the holidays, there are many things you can make yourself. Getting a little crafty can save you a lot of money in the long run. This is far more fun than buying everything pre-made, too. Head to Pinterest for tons of inspiring DIY ideas.
  3. Potluck it up. Many hands make light work. The same can be applied to hosting. If your guests offer to bring something, take them up on it. If you plan on asking them to contribute, give them ideas to help them out. This can include bread, wine, or extra appetizers – every little bit helps your budget!
  4. Go for something borrowed. Avoid buying something when someone can loan it to you. Need a kids’ table? It’s very likely a guest will have a spare card table they can bring along. The same goes for extra chairs.
  5. It’s all about the atmosphere. Elegance doesn’t need to be expensive. Candles are one great and cost-effective way to amp up the ambiance for your dinner. Streaming a playlist is another must for the evening.
  6. Waste not, want not. Turn your turkey leftovers into delicious post-holiday dinners. (read more)

Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank. Thankfully, there’s Butterball.

Thanksgiving Turkey Tips and Tricks

To ensure your Thanksgiving is a success, we have some handy turkey tips and tricks for you.

Elevate your dishes:

  • Brush your turkey with oil – Butterball turkeys are already brined, so you’re halfway there. To prevent your turkey from drying out, just brush the skin with some oil.
  • Add vegetables to your stuffing – take your stuffing up a notch by adding various root vegetables. Not only will it add a variety of colour and flavour, but it will be enhanced with good nutritious ingredients too.
  • Keep your pan drippings – This is the good stuff! Use your pan drippings as gravy and your guests will thank you for it. Click here for our secret to a delicious pan dripping gravy.

Make sure you are equipped with the appropriate tools and your preparation will be so much easier. Here’s some helpful tips:

  • Roasting Pan – For convenience, many people use a large foil roasting pan for cooking a turkey, but they’re not always sturdy enough to hold your big bird. We suggest investing in a roasting pan. It’s easy to lift the pan from the oven and it won’t spill its contents. You can also use it year after year.
  • Carving Knife – Make sure you have a carving knife that is sharp enough to cut through the bird without excessive effort and without shredding it. Clean slices are what you and your guests are after. An electric knife is a great option too.
  • Meat Thermometer – This nifty device takes the guesswork out of cooking turkey and helps to ensure that it’s completely cooked.
  • Turkey Lifter – This is item will help you lift your turkey from the roasting pan to your serving dish, without any hiccups!

Whatever you prepare, we’re sure it will be enjoyed by all.

How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey

When thawed properly, a frozen turkey is just as juicy, tender and delicious as one that is fresh. We’ve put together a guide to help you perfectly thaw your turkey.

How to thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator
Thawing your turkey in the fridge is not the fastest method but it is the safest as it keeps the meat cold throughout the entire process.

All you need to do is:

  • Place the frozen turkey in its wrapper on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator
  • Thaw for 1 day per every 4 pounds

This method should be planned well in advance to ensure you’ve given the turkey enough time to thaw.

How to thaw a frozen turkey in cold water
If you don’t have the time to thaw your turkey in the fridge, this is one of the fastest ways.

All you need to do is:

  • Place the frozen turkey in its unopened wrapper, breast down, in a sink filled with cold tap water
  • Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the surface of the turkey cold
  • It should take about 30 minutes per 1 pound to thaw

No thawing is necessary with these items.
If you prefer not to thaw a frozen turkey, then here are some perfect options for you:

  • Butterball Fresh Whole Turkey
  • Butterball Cook from Frozen Turkey (Stuffed or not Stuffed)

Do you have turkey questions? Check out our FAQ page for more helpful tips!

Turkey Cooking Times

Both experienced and new cooks alike worry about how long to cook their turkey. The Butterball brand has been around since 1954, so when turkey cooking advice is needed just ask our experts. You can check our website, call, email or even text during the holiday period. We will help you prepare the perfect turkey dinner.

Turkey cooking times will vary with size or if you are roasting a frozen turkey so the best and safest way to be sure your turkey is done is to check with a meat thermometer. The temperature must be 180˚F/82˚C in the thigh and minimum 165˚F/74˚C deep in the center of the stuffing.

Refer to the turkey cooking chart on the package or online. Half an hour before you expect your turkey to be done check temperatures with your thermometer. Keep in mind that it can take longer for a turkey to cook than the time listed on a chart.

Oven Temperature: Roasting charts are created using perfectly calibrated ovens. If your oven is a few degrees cooler than the recommended 325˚F/165˚C your turkey will take longer to cook. An inexpensive oven thermometer will let you know to set the dial a few degrees warmer.

Oven Opening: Anxious cooks who open the oven every 15 minutes to check the turkey allow heat to escape and as a result their turkey can take up to an hour longer to cook.

Foil or Shiny Pan: Your turkey can take longer to cook when you use a foil or shiny roasting pan that does not conduct heat.

After removing your perfectly-cooked Butterball turkey from the oven let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Juices will redistribute throughout the meat and your turkey will be moist and flavourful.

Relax and enjoy time with your friends and family. Don’t stress over the turkey. Let your kitchen buddy, the meat thermometer, let you know when your turkey is cooked and ready to serve.

How to Cook a Turkey

When it comes to preparing a perfect turkey there are many different ideas and preferences; we’re here to share our easy prep recommendations for a turkey that’s perfect every time.

Step One: Thawing Your Turkey

Thawing can happen a couple of ways; for instance, you can place your unopened turkey, breast down, in a sink full of cold water and change the water every half hour. This method requires more attention, but significantly cuts down the thawing time (30 minutes per pound).

When thawing in the fridge, leave your frozen turkey in its’ original plastic wrapper and place it on a tray. Allow one day of thawing for every four pounds (454 g) of turkey. The catchword here… patience.

Step Two: Preparing Your Turkey

Before preparing your turkey pre-heat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

Prepping the turkey seems to be the most complex step for first-timers, but it’s quite easy. After removing the packaging, simply remove the neck from the body cavity and the giblets from the neck cavity. Untuck the legs, drain any juices and pat dry with paper towels. The turkey is now ready for the roasting pan.

Choose a roasting pan with shallow sides (max 3 inches) and place a rack in the bottom. If you don’t have a rack, improvise with rolls of foil or raw carrots. It’s important to get the turkey up off the bottom of the pan to allow proper air flow for cooking. Place the turkey, breast facing up, on the rack.

Now that the turkey is in the pan you can add your favourite seasonings or check out our recipes for some Butterball suggestions. However, when you cook a Butterball turkey, all you really have to do is brush it with vegetable oil (canola is our choice) to prevent the skin from drying and achieve a perfect golden brown appearance.

If you choose to stuff, add the stuffing now, just before the turkey goes in the oven. Once your turkey is prepared and stuffed, re-tuck the legs and prep is complete. Do not cover or add water to the pan.

Step Three: Roasting your Turkey

Place your Butterball turkey on the middle rack of your preheated oven (325°F/160°C). About half an hour before you expect the turkey to be cooked you should check temperatures. The turkey is done when the thigh temperature reaches a minimum 180°F (82°C) and the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum 165°F (74°C). Note: If your turkey is becoming too brown while roasting, loosely tent with foil until it reaches the proper temperatures.

After removing your cooked turkey from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let it sit for at least 20 minutes so the juices can re-distribute before carving.

Cooking a turkey should not be intimidating. Just follow these three easy steps for a tender, juicy, perfect Butterball turkey.

Alexa, Ask Butterball How to Cook a Turkey

Iconic brand introduces voice assistance to help cooks “Host Like a Boss”  

Toronto, ON (November 1, 2018) – From questions about what to do
when your son tries stuffing a turkey with Lego, to inquiries about the
jacuzzi-defrosting technique, Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line experts have heard
it all. Now, the experts are empowering cooks with more turkey resources than ever. With people increasingly
turning to their smart speakers for guidance, it’s the perfect time to integrate
Butterball’s expertise into their new hands-free, in-kitchen helper: Amazon Alexa.

For more than 65 years, Butterball has empowered cooks to shake off the stress of holiday meal prep and host like a boss. The Turkey Talk-Line has already evolved to offer support through text, email, live chat, and this year, the Turkey Talk-Line is extending its presence to the voice space with the help of Amazon Alexa.

Through the new Butterball skill for Amazon Alexa – now available on Alexa-enabled devices – a simple voice command (“Alexa, ask Butterball…”) allows cooks to hear trusted Turkey Talk-Line experts share answers to frequently asked questions and provide turkey preparation advice. Users can also watch how-to videos on compatible devices like Echo Show, Echo Spot and Amazon Fire TV Cube. To use the Butterball skill for the first time, Alexa users can say “enable Butterball skill” to their Alexa-enabled device or enable directly by visiting the Alexa Skills Store through the Alexa app or Amazon.com.

“The Turkey Talk-Line is focused on one-on-one help for cooking turkey – whether it’s a first-time cook or a 20-year veteran,” said Nicole Johnson, Co-Director of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. “Nothing will ever replace a phone call with an expert; but our goal is to reach cooks where it’s convenient for them and give them the confidence to ‘Host Like a Boss’ through as many means as possible.”

Teaming up with Alexa enables the Turkey Talk-Line to deliver expert advice via the voice service, Alexa. To learn more about the skill and the ways the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is supporting cooks everywhere, visit Butterball.ca or Butterball’s social channels, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“The new Butterball skill for Alexa lets customers tap into years of expert cooking advice on how to prepare a turkey – even when their hands are full in the kitchen,” said Rob Pulciani, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We’re excited that Alexa can help make the holidays a little easier for our customers.”

Expert Advice Anytime, Anywhere: Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts are available Nov. 1
through Dec. 24. With decades of helping home cooks under their belts,
Butterball’s experts are a holiday staple and a source of vital turkey knowledge.
With Butterball experts taking care of the turkey questions, hosts can spend
more time putting their own stamp on the day and truly “Host Like a Boss.” You
can reach the Turkey Talk-Line via:

  • NEW! Butterball Skill for Amazon Alexa: Starting Nov. 1, users can enable the Butterball Skill for Amazon Alexa. Once enabled, just ask the Butterball skill for Alexa your cooking questions and hear trusted Talk-Line experts share answers. Users can even watch how-to videos on compatible Alexa-enabled devices (Echo Show, Echo Spot and Amazon Fire TV).
  • Text (844-877-3456): With nearly one in three first-time cooks saying they’d text the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line for cooking help, it only makes sense that, for the third year in a row, the Turkey Talk-Line offer text support.
  • 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372): Turkey Talk-Line experts will be available this season starting Nov.1 through Dec. 24, 2018, to answer questions and assist all holiday cooks.
  • How-To Videos: Need a visual guide? Check out our fun and helpful instructional videos at Butterball.ca.

About the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line

One of the first national, toll-free consumer help lines, the Turkey Talk-Line has
helped almost 50 million consumers since its first season in November 1981.
Each November and December, professionally trained turkey experts assist more
than 4 million cooks through the Turkey Talk-Line, Butterball.com, Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, live chat and emails in the United States and Canada. With
more than 50 staff members, the Turkey Talk-Line has the resources to answer
questions from both English- or Spanish-speaking callers and respond to
questions via email.

For more information contact Elizabeth.Krock@ZenoGroup.com.

The Amazing, Incomparable Turkey Lifter

The trickiest moment at many Thanksgivings is a seemingly simple one: lifting your turkey from its roasting pan to the serving tray.

A simple turkey lifter, made from a few lengths of kitchen twine can take that weight off your shoulders. And remember, no matter

how amazing and incomparable the turkey lifter is, always be cautious when you handle hot food.

What do I need?

  • One piece of kitchen twine 70 inches long

How do I make it?

  1. Tie the two ends of the twine together in a simple square knot, forming a circle. Pull on the twine to be sure the knot is tight.
  2. Tie a knot in the middle of the circle, creating a figure 8.
  3. Lay the turkey lifter in your roasting pan, on top of the rack on which you’ll cook your turkey.
  4. Once the turkey is done, lift it out of the tray by looping each circle around each end of the turkey and raising it onto the serving tray.

See How To Make a Turkey Lifter on our Butterball Canada YouTube channel.

Become a Holiday Hosting Pro this Season

“Never let ’em see you sweat. Guests feel guilty if they think you’ve worked too hard to make dinner for them—which of course you have!” – Ina Garten

Entertaining is hard work. Luckily, with some planning and a little festive magic you can be a whiz at holiday hosting.

  • Signature drinks make everything special. Serve a special cocktail to really impress your guests. Options include mulled wine, spiked eggnog or your own punch concoction.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t leave everything until your guests arrive. Figure out all the important details in advance, like how long you’ll need to thaw and cook your turkey. Or skip the thawing altogether with a cook from frozen whole turkey. Once you’ve got your holiday meal hero prepped and ready to go, everything else will fall into place. You can also prepare a lot of side dishes and desserts a day or two ahead. Consider washing your veggies and peeling your potatoes and carrots before the big day arrives (just remember to store them in water overnight). For more on planning ahead, check this out.
  • Set your table the day before. Tackle this task early to make it an enjoyable activity rather than a stressful necessity. Give yourself plenty of time to clean and iron your festive linens and find the perfect napkins. Everyone will be impressed by the thought you put into setting your table.
  • Create a playlist. Music will make everyone feel at ease. Stream holiday classics all night to charm even your most grinch-like guests.
  • Stock up on games. Before you host for the holidays, make sure you have a good selection of games. This is a great way for everyone to bond after dinner, and ensures the evening stays lively from start to finish.
  • Send a gift home. Give your guests something to remember the night by. This could be homemade baking, a festive candle, or an inexpensive ornament.
  • Make no apologies. As the great Julia Child once said, “no matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” Once you’ve put in all that hard work try to relax and enjoy yourself. That way you can focus on your guests and spending time with them. That’s really what matters most.

Thankfully, you’ve got this. Thankfully, there’s Butterball.

4 Leftover Turkey Recipe Ideas You’ll Love

Turkey is a delicious and healthy protein for any meal. People take great care and put a lot of time and effort into how they prepare the whole turkey. But, what comes after dinner is over?

Butterball offers a number of turkey recipes that use leftovers to help you and your family get the most out of that delicious turkey dinner.

Turkey Soup

Ever considered turkey soup? This is a great way to put those turkey leftovers to good use. Our turkey soup recipe will give you a zesty taste experience that will have your family coming back for more.

Get the recipe here: https://www.butterball.ca/recipes/turkey-salsa-soup.

Casseroles

Casseroles are always a quick and excellent way to use leftover turkey. Tip: throw leftover sides in your casserole for even more flavour.

Get the recipe here: https://www.butterball.ca/recipes/turkey-tetrazzini

Hearty Recipes

If you’re looking for filling dish that uses leftover turkey, a potpie will do the trick. Crispy crust, delicious turkey… now we’re getting hungry!

Get the recipe here: https://www.butterball.ca/recipes/hearty-turkey-pie

Sandwiches

If all else fails, why not go with a more traditional method and put together sandwiches with your leftover turkey? Add a little Dijon mustard or cranberry sauce for something extra!

My Absolute Favourite Holiday Leftover Recipes

By Chef Shahir Massoud

The holidays are here, and no matter how you celebrate, you’ll likely have turkey on the table. This year, I’ll be enjoying a delicious dinner with my wife Mila and our three-year-old son, Kairo. Given it’s just the three of us, I expect we’ll have some leftovers, but I’m not complaining.

Leftovers are one of my favourite parts of a holiday meal (besides the turkey… and the company). From Turkey Ramen to Potato and Stuffing Gnocchi, you can take leftovers from boring to brilliant with just a touch of creativity.

Check out my absolute favourite holiday leftover recipes below (and my secret to the ultimate broth) or browse Butterball.ca for some more inspiration.

The Best Turkey Broth
Turkey broth is a triple threat—it tastes amazing, it’s good for you and it’s relatively easy to make. All you need are the leftover turkey bones from your holiday dinner, some vegetable oil, a couple of spices and some fresh vegetables.

Are you here for the secret? Roast your bones first, then deglaze the pan. This will help make your broth even more flavourful!

Ingredients
Bones from 1 turkey, chopped into smaller pieces
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat turkey bones in oil, then roast for 4560 minutes. Deglaze roasting pan with some water, then transfer to a stockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 24 hours. Allow to cool completely, strain, then store in air-tight containers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to a month.
  • For added flavour, consider swapping out the water in this recipe for store-bought broth.

Turkey Ramen Soup (serves 6)
While regular turkey noodle soup is timeless, and delicious, I’m all about taking things up a notch. This Turkey Ramen recipe is the perfect dish to cozy up with on cold winter nights. The best part? It tastes amazing and it’s super easy to make.

Ingredients
2 L turkey stock
6 eggs, soft boiled for 7 minutes
2 bunches green onions, finely sliced
2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. chili oil (optional)
300 g fresh noodles
4 nori sheets

Instructions

  • Cooking: Boil your noodles, then rinse under cold water. Set aside. Add your eggs to boiling water for 7 minutes, then remove, shock in cold water and peel.
  • Assembly: Ladle hot stock into each bowl, then add the cooked noodles. Add some shredded turkey, top with sliced green onion and the egg that has been halved. Drizzle in sesame and chili oil, then garnish with a piece of nori.

Potato and Stuffing Gnocchi (serves 46)
We always have a lot of leftover stuffing in our house. It’s delicious on its own, but we’re trying to encourage our son to try different things. This recipe is great for involving kids in the kitchen, showing them how to get creative and for expanding their palates.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup stuffing
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and knead for 23 minutes, until combined. Rest for 30 minutes.
  • Cut off a piece of the dough and roll into a long, snake shape, about 1 inch thick. Cut off even-sized pieces to create your gnocchi. Place on a flour-dusted sheet tray and continue until all the gnocchi have been shaped.
  • Cook in salted boiling water until the gnocchi rises to the top. Take the cooked gnocchi out with a strainer, then add to a pan with butter. Transfer to a serving platter and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Mostarda
Cranberry sauce is a must for any holiday dinner, big or small! I don’t know about you, but we rarely use the whole can and sometimes struggle to find ways to repurpose the leftover sauce. Problem solved – the perfect combination of sweet and savoury, this jammy Cranberry Mostarda can be enjoyed on just about anything.

Ingredients
2 cups cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook slowly for 2025 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Serve on your favourite cheese, charcuterie, eggs or even leftover turkey sandwiches.

There you have it—some seriously delicious ways to use up those holiday leftovers. Who knows, you might like these recipes so much you’ll cook another turkey next week!

Tools to Complement your Turkey Recipes

Whether you’ve been making turkey for years or you’re new to the game, we’re committed to providing you with the tools you need to make all your festive occasions easy and delicious.

Butterball Turkey Calculator

Not sure what size of turkey to buy or when to put it in the oven? Our convenient Turkey Calculator does the math for you. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter the number of guests you plan on feeding or the size of the turkey you’ve already purchased
  • Select the type of turkey
  • Watch our Turkey Calculator work its magic

FAQ and Videos

You have turkey questions, we have turkey answers. From tips on how to read date codes to safe handling instructions, our FAQ section will help you pull off dinner without a fuss.

If you prefer to watch videos, check out our helpful recipe, cooking tip and handling instruction videos.

For everything else turkey, you can always check out or website. 

Decorate your Best Holiday Table Ever this Year

It’s cold outside, and snow is gently falling. Your turkey is roasting to perfection in the oven. (how to roast video)

And oh yes, your holiday table is beautifully set. Once your guests arrive, they can’t stop complimenting how you’ve decorated it.

This can be your reality this festive season, with a few simple steps:

Pick a theme, any theme: Rustic, elegant, traditional or even a little quirky – there’s no wrong answer when it comes to deciding on a theme for your table. Whatever you choose, stick to it.

Turn to nature: Some of the best decor can come from the outdoors, especially during the winter season. Pine cones, holly and birch branches all give off some seriously festive vibes.

Assigned seating is always a good idea: Place cards eliminate any potential pre-dinner panic. And they add a nice touch to your table, even if you’re hosting a small group. For a simple DIY, prop your place cards in those pinecones you picked up outside.

Avoid matchy-matchy: Don’t get too hung up on having matching tableware, napkins, or even chairs. Embrace an eclectic look by combining your modern items with antique touches (like your grandma’s cherished silverware).

Get creative with your centerpiece: The world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your centerpiece. Make things as simple or as complex as you’d like. Fill vases or jars with twinkle lights and ornaments. Spread some greenery across the centre of the table. And of course, always add candles!

Thankfully, your holiday table will look amazing. Thankfully, there’s Butterball.

Easy and Fun Turkey Recipes

Recipes, turkeys and cooking, sounds exciting. Throw in a few new ideas from Chef Shahir and ‘voila’, you have the recipe for success.

No matter your cooking level or experience, Butterball Canada has more than 100 turkey recipes, which have been created to help you get the most out of your turkey. Not only are the recipes easy and fun, but they’re delicious too! And, you can use them for everyday meals, special occasions and holidays.

So, without further ado, let’s get cooking.

Roast turkey with cranberry, orange glaze
If you like roasting your turkey, then we have an easy and fun cranberry orange glaze recipe that is certain to make mouths water. To enhance the flavour, we recommend placing carrots (you can also use onions, celery and turnips) around the bird while it cooks.

Creamy broccoli with turkey bacon
Our creamy broccoli with turkey bacon salad is a hearty dish that can be made using turkey leftovers. It is tasty, simple to prepare and will be a hit with your family.

Prosciutto wrapped turkey roasts with chipotle mango BBQ sauce
If you’re up for something a little more adventurous, then this mouthwatering and fun turkey recipe will appeal to your taste buds. This prosciutto wrapped turkey roasts with chipotle mango BBQ sauce recipe is filled with tangy and tantalizing ingredients. Yum!

Vietnamese turkey wraps
Looking for a new family favourite? This Vietnamese turkey wrap recipe is easy to make and loved by all.

Coconut curry turkey breast
Want to spice things up? This coconut curry turkey breast recipe will do the trick. The great thing about this easy dish is that you can make it as hot or mild as you like.

French onion turkey burger
Love burgers?  Then this French onion turkey burger is going to be a real treat. Throw in some fries and you’re good to chow down.

Remember, we have over 100 turkey recipes, so explore all of them and enjoy.

Chef Shahir Talks Turkey

After graduating from York University’s Schulich School of Business, I realized a career as an accountant wasn’t really for me. I didn’t want to simply sit at a desk in a cubicle. I had more to offer than that. Even from an early age, I’d always had a deep passion for cooking, so I pursued my dream and moved to New York City to enroll in the prestigious French Culinary Institute.

In New York I was fortunate to gain valuable experience in the kitchens of two of the great chefs of Italian and French cuisine in America: Mario Batali (Lupa) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (The Mark Hotel) and Saveur magazine.

Upon my return home to Toronto, I headed up the kitchen at Cinq 01 where I was one of the youngest chefs to be awarded a coveted two-star “Very Good” review from Toronto Life.

Next stop, the Culinary Adventure Company as Corporate Executive Chef, responsible for the entire culinary experience of every guest.

From there, I became Corporate Executive Chef at Levetto, a fast-casual concept specializing in authentic Roman pizza and pasta.

And now I’m working with Butterball to create new ideas and inspire new tastes for turkey. That tender, juicy, delicious meat is not just for the holidays. Turkey is a versatile protein that can be seasoned and prepared in an infinite variety of ways. Turkey is also such a nutritional powerhouse it has been labeled a super food. It’s high in B vitamins, zinc, selenium and amino acids. If you’re looking for a lean and healthy alternative for any meal occasion, turkey is the ideal choice.

I look forward to creating new recipes for turkey, sharing my thoughts and finding new friends in the kitchen. Join me and together we can see how far we can take the great taste of Butterball turkey and make every meal a special occasion.

Chef Shahir’s Passion for Food and Entertaining

I had the most amazing epiphany today as I packed up after filming a segment for Cityline. Crew members, and fellow show experts were hovering over the work table where a pile of leftovers remained from today’s cooking demonstration. The segment showcased beautiful, summer fruits, used in the most incredible dishes. A pile of Italian Taleggio (a complex, semi-soft cheese) with pancetta and honeydew agrodolce, roasted peaches with rosemary and seared pork chops, and charred radicchio and strawberry salad remained. And they were all being sampled.

I truly enjoyed piling cheese onto crostinis, dressing the salad and doling out sweet, honey soaked peaches for the hungry crew. Then, it hit me! I knew the key to being a great host. And it’s no different whether you’re hosting a fancy, formal party or if you’re just inviting a close-knit group for a backyard cookout.

Back in my university days – many, many years ago – I took great pride in the parties I hosted in our shared dorm suite. I even emptied out an electrical closet, lined the floors with wood tile, added neon bar signs, and created an extra area for a bar fridge. Hey, every inch counted back then! But this morning I realized the same principles that made me a great host back then, have carried on to my adult life as a professional in the hospitality industry. They’re also the same traits that will ensure all your guests feel welcome at the gathering you host this summer season.

I really believe that people can tell when you genuinely want to take care of them. They can feel the energy behind a dish that you are proud of because you gave it your best effort. They can sense that you care when you ask if their drink needs refreshing. Simply put, when you put in the effort and show that you care, people respond in the most heartwarming and gratifying way. Feeding the crew this morning wasn’t anything special. But you know what? I enjoyed it and they were really thankful and truly appreciative. When you think about it, that’s what being a great host is all about.

Some of my recipes are a bit labour intensive. There’s some shopping to do. There’s prep and planning and cleanup. But, you should know that I created these recipes with a ton of love and care. I’m really proud of them and am happy to feed them to my parents, family and friends. So, if you do decide to try some out (which I really hope you do!), then I hope you carry that spirit of passion and sincerity on to your own guests. Nothing about your cooking has to be perfect. Just put in the time and effort, and I promise you that it will show.

Happy cooking,
Shahir

Butterball Canada: The Story Behind the Bird

We may not have introduced turkeys to the world, but we did introduce Canadians to our succulent Butterball turkey, named for its broad breast and plump, round shape. And we’re proud to say, that for over 60 years, Butterball Canada has been dedicated to bringing people together to celebrate occasions of all sizes.

With a strong history behind us and a future filled with innovation and inspiration, Butterball Canada wants to ensure that you and your family, continue to enjoy all of our products. From Thanksgiving dinners to mouthwatering turkey sandwiches, we have a selection that matches all of your needs, thankfully there’s Butterball.