Evidently, I am all about making up for being away for a few weeks, so here’s post #2 of the day.
Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away. Turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie are so a part of what makes me happy that gravy most likely runs in my veins.
Since this year has crept up on me, I thought I’d throw out a few dinner saving tips that I have learned the hard way.
1. Don’t be intimidated – a turkey dinner is nothing to be afraid of. This year, some smart people suggested a Thanksgiving Potluck. That’s such a good idea – I wish I thought of it!
2. How to make the best turkey – HERE. The Turkey Man’s formula has made about 8 awesome turkeys for me.
3. Use Stove Top stuffing. I like the Cornbread one. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic (in butter…fine, use what ever fat you wish, we’re a butter house). Add some fresh cranberries, walnuts/pecans and the stuffing crumbs. In place of water, use chicken or vegetable broth (if you don’t have any – use water). Remove from heat and let cool. Beat an egg & add just a wee bit of milk. Pour over cooled stuffing and mix well (this just keeps the stuffing from becoming too crumbly). Because I don’t stuff my turkey, this goes in a casserole dish & is popped in the oven at about 375 – 400 for 15 minutes while the turkey is resting post cook.
4. If you like brussel sprouts (I love them!), don’t buy frozen! Buy fresh. Peel the first layer of the sprouts off. If they’re massive sprouts, cut ’em in half. Give them a steam until they’re about half cooked. Melt some butter (no idea if this is as good with oil) throw the sprouts in with butter to finish cooking, I also throw in some walnuts and cranberries here. Once they’re nearly cooked, pour in maple syrup. No, not Aunt Jamima’s sugar syrup, the real Canadian tree sap syrup. I promise even people who don’t like sprouts will eat these.
5. If you are looking for potato recipes or yam recipes, just google for them. I usually try a different recipe every time. Potatoes usually include a concoction of butter, milk, sour cream, garlic and spice like dill or nutmeg. Yams always include maple syrup & spices – never marshmallows.
6. Pumpkin Pie. I use E.D. Smith’s Pure Pumpkin. I think this is the recipe that’s on the can, which is what I use – except I double all of the spices…and probably then some. Also, don’t use pie pastry. Make a graham cracker crust, or a Nilla Wafer crust. Top with maple ice cream. So yum.
A few years ago, Statler & Waldorf gave us an electric chafing dish. Honestly, coming from parents who are known for their useless crap collections, this was a kick ass gift (seriously beat the hell out of the piano key chain Alec got one year!). I think we use this 5 or 6 times a year. If you entertain a lot, invest. It will make your life SO much easier. No more trying to keep everything warm from the oven! Plus, you can load this baby up and get a jump on cleaning the pots and pans before the turkey is even out of the oven!
Okay, so there’s the guide I follow for a successful Thanksgiving. Happy turkey shopping!
Oh yeah – if you’re like me, your roaster is just BARELY able to fit in the oven with the one rack. So make sure that when you preheat the oven for the turkey that you remove the extra rack. Should you forget, don’t put it on the counter under the cupboard that houses the glasses or you might end up with a Frankenstein type scar on your gunt from trying to get a glass. Just a tip.