Doodle Bug (minikin) wrote,
Doodle Bug
minikin

Thanksgiving Day

I got repeated comments yesterday on how moist the turkey was. The only thing I can say to that, is that my mother-in-law was not known for moist turkey.

But I thought I'd share my contributions to yesterday's dinner, as a contrast to envoy's gourmet approach. :)

Critter contributed the recipe for our turkey, 9 years ago, when he was in Pre-K. In a class recipe book, he said that the turkey is stuffed with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions. I tried it that year, and I've used this combination every year I've been responsible for the turkey, since then. I roast the turkey using a Reynold's roasting bag. I find it easier to stuff the turkey after I put it in the bag: First I put pats of butter on the top of the breasts and snuck into the folds next to the wings and drumsticks. Then I ladled cream of mushroom soup into the cavity, followed by Durkee onion rings. This year, I happened to use the lower fat version of the soup, as that's what Sam's sells in the assorted cream soups packages. I stuck a poultry button in one breast, and a thermometer into the other, cut a few more slits for steam, and tied up the bag. Critter actually put it from the fridge into the oven for me this year, as I was up to m elbows in dressing at the appropriate. If you're new to Reynolds roasting bags, remember to check roasting times in the Reynolds instructions, as it speeds up the process a bit.

My mom picked up a recipe for a cranberry salad ages ago, and it's become a required part of Thanksgiving, for the kids. One bag of cranberries, one bag of tiny marshmallow, one tub of cool whip, and one can of crushed pineapple. The recipe calls for sugar, but we've no earthly idea why. Chop the cranberries. I use a blender, in small batches; Mom uses a Pampered Chef mini-chopper. Drain the pineapple. Mix everything together and chill until suppertime. If you have a clear serving bowl, it's especially pretty if you spoon it into the bowl, rather than mixing it in place, since the mixing owl gets rather smeared up.

For the dressing, I tend to use what I have on hand. First I chopped an onion up, then about an equal volume of celery. I cut the rest of the celery into sticks for snacking. I had one un-opened box of croutons for Caesar salad, and a couple of half bags of other flavors of salad croutons. The trick with using croutons, is to break them up into smaller sizes bits. I also had a loaf of jalapeno cornbread sitting around in the freezer that I used so that I could properly call it cornbread dressing. I didn't bother to let it dry overnight: my mom has always dried the white bread, but used cornbread fresh out of the oven. While I was cutting up cornbread and breaking apart croutons, I had the onions and celery sautéing in butter.

Once the crumbs seemed the right granularity, I mixed them together then added the onions and celery. Mixing dressing is a fun activity, getting my hands into the mess up to my wrists, and using my big bread bowl to keep things contained. I added a healthy bit of poultry seasoning, three raw eggs and hot water until it seemed the right amount of mushy. I'd have used giblet broth, but I wanted to save it all for the gravy.

My mom has always put the dressing into a 2.5 quart casserole dish to bake. Mushy dressing results from this, although it takes up less fridge and oven space. My mother-in-law baked the dressing in patties on cookie sheets. I much prefer the latter, crispier version of dressing, even though it takes up way more space in the fridge, waiting for the turkey to roast. I'm told I could have made less dressing. Oh well - I always have trouble estimating that.

Once I got the dressing set out in patties on the cookie sheets, I was done until it was time to make the gravy. I had a pretty relaxed lunch, and then ironed the lace tablecloth and got the boys' assistance in setting the table.

After the rest of Flar's family had arrived, I started in on the gravy. Pretty standard methods, except I use butter rather than turkey drippings for the roux, since the turkey baster gets way more broth than fat when I wield it. I didn't like how thick the gravy was with the amount of giblet broth I had, and I overdid thinning it more with water -- when I really could have drawn off ome turkey broth by then. But the giblets, neck meat and boiled eggs put some body back into the gravy, and it was fine for the meal.

We had a great Thanksgiving. Bébé was there, and Brody and his wife, and their kids. Brody's wife brought the traditional green bean casserole, a really yummy rendition of sweet potato casserole, and a salad. Bébé supplied the rolls and jellied cranberry sauce.

Critter sat in the dining room with the adults, which left the four younger kids in the kitchen by themselves. It was a somewhat loud meal, but well received by all. By the end of the evening, even the dogs got to join in the visiting, and Bébé commented on how nice everything was.

While I was cooking, Flar had gone to a couple of the Thanksgiving day sales. He came home with two bags of bed, and I put one set on our bed before we went to sleep for the night. mmmm. fresh sheets. :)
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