A Thanksgiving Success Story

So when I said that I would post photos tomorrow what I really meant was four days later.

Our Thanksgiving meal was a big success! I think there is a lot of hype built up about cooking the Thanksgiving meal, but if you have at least moderate skills in the kitchen, than it’s not that hard.

The Turkey

Shooting up the turkey

Travis handled all turkey preparation. He created some sort of injection and then shot the turkey up with it. Kind of like an episode of Intervention, except the turkey was never going to make it to rehab. Then he put the turkey in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes to make the skin golden brown. After that, he covered the turkey with foil and turned the temperature down to 350. The turkey cooked for about 4 1/2 hours. It was 21 lbs. of pure fantasticness.

Travis with his bird

Side note: We bought the turkey four days in advance of Thanksgiving and started defrosting it in the refrigerator the second we got home. When we pulled the turkey out of the fridge on Thursday, we found that it was not completely defrosted. This slowed down our cooking time significantly as we had to set it in the sink and let it defrost in a bath of cool water.

Here’s a tip: Leave the turkey in it’s bag if you have to defrost it in the sink. We took it out of the bag and started filling the sink. Then Travis did a quick Food Network search and found that turkey can actually absorb a lot of water. Because of this we had to quickly move the turkey into a bag. Let me give you a visual: I am holding a flimsy plastic bag while Travis attempts to pick up a slippery 21 lb. turkey. Not cool. We ended up putting the bird in garbage bags. What? Don’t judge – you should know by now that Travis and I are a bit redneck innovative.

The Stuffing

My Stuffing Recipe (Mine, mine, mine and a little bit of my Dad’s)

1 loaf Dutch crunch bread (stale or toasted to crispiness)
1 loaf multigrain bread (also stale or toasted to crispiness)
1 box store stuffing mix (if you buy enough bread you won’t need this. I, alas, did not purchase enough.)
1 package bulk sausage – I used Jimmy Dean with Sage flavoring
1/2 onion diced
4-5 celery stalks diced
Baby Bella Mushrooms chopped
Fresh Thyme, Rosemary and Sage
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. butter (real butter, not margarine)
1 cup chicken broth

Stuffing. The lighting was off. It actually looked and smelled a lot more appetizing than this picture.

Cook sausage in pan. When sausage is no longer pink add onions and celery. When onions are translucent and celery is soft, but still crunchy, add mushrooms. Saute mixture with chicken broth. This will help soften the vegetables, give the mixture more flavor and gives you a little liquid to break down the bread. Add bread and stuffing mix to a casserole or dutch oven. Pour vegetable mixture over the bread and stir together. Pour cream over top. Slice up butter and place chunks on top of mix. Take fresh herbs and place on top (adds a little flavor and makes for a nice presentation). Put in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so uncovered.

The Taters

Huh. So that is a completely unattractive mashed potato shot.

This was one recipe that was good, but not over the top amazing. I roasted a whole head of garlic in the oven and then smashed it up, adding to the potatoes. I had expected a more powerful taste, but the garlic flavor was almost lost in the potato mixture. All in all, though, they were a perfectly acceptable mashed potato.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

These were a tasty little treat. Whenever I roast vegetables I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. It is so easy!

Here’s this recipe:

2 or 3 sweet potatoes or yams (I used both)
Honey or Agave Nectar
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, honey and agave. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Voila!

The Sprouts

Try them. You'll like it.

I think Brussel sprouts get a bad rap. I like to think of them as mini cabbage. I roasted these as well and it turned out marvelously. Cut Brussel sprouts in half, place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.

Guilty Conscious: I also cooked some bacon and then sprinkled it on top of the brussel sprouts as they roasted.
Redeeming Moment: I added golden raisins when the sprouts were out of the oven. They’re fruit, right?

The Piece de la Resistance
Dun, da, da, dun! Pumpkin Cheesecake. Did you know that it is almost embarrassingly easy to make a cheesecake? Me neither. This recipe was so simple and the result was delicious. Paula Deen has never steered me wrong. This was my first foray into using a spring form pan and I did learn that I may have needed to grease it before adding the graham cracker crust. I’m also not sure if there is an easy way to get a cheesecake out of a spring form pan. If so, please share your tips with me.

Finally, the complete meal –

Smorgasbord

And, in case you thought I forgot, I’m thankful for:

  • Having a tremendous amount of love in my life
  • My family who call me bridezilla, but better not don’t mean it
  • That Travis and I have been lucky to continue working this year
  • My beautiful, amazing friends who nurture my soul
  • Daisy dog and the devilish duo Hans and Louie
  • Travis for making my dreams come true
  • Oh and I’m still pretty happy that Obama won the election. Just thought I’d throw that in there.
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One thought on “A Thanksgiving Success Story

  1. […] Last year we cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal for three. Neither Travis nor I had ever made a turkey or managed an entire Thanksgiving meal, and I […]

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