I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I for one had a glorious day! I had never cooked a turkey before, so I was a little nervous to have my trial run be in front of all of Nathan’s family. But, we are all friends here 🙂
The day started off actually on Weds night. I though ahead (something I never do) and decided to make the pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and dinner rolls the night before. I had worked Weds so I came home and got crackin. I ended up finishing with everything by 9:30pm. Not bad. (all these recipes are at the end of this post)
Nathan really helps out when we have family over. My job was the cooking and keeping the kitchen presentable. His job was cleaning the entire house. I totally think he got the raw end of this deal. (SSSHHHHH, don’t tell him). Anyway, I had thawed the 20 pound turkey in the fridge for a good 5 days. Much to my dismay (at 8:30 am on Thursday mind you), I realized I could not get the turkey neck and giblets out because they were frozen inside the bird. *Sigh*. So, I started thawing in the sink. Every 30 minutes I would drain out the old water and put in new cold water until my turkey was thawed. I finally got the turkey thawed around 11am. (We were supposed to eat at 2pm). I was a little flustered. I also managed to splash raw turkey water all over the front of me when I was washing the turkey. There is not enough soap in the world to wash off raw turkey water all over you. Not cool!
Harley decided to get in on the turkey action. Could he be any cuter? Honestly?
Anyhow, after the turkey fiasco, I ended up rubbing butter and whole sage leaves between the turkey skin and the meat. It was a little disgusting but it paid off. I then sprayed the inside of the cavity with fresh lemon juice, sprinkled salt in the cavity, and filled it to overflowing with celery tops and bottoms, 1/2 an onion cut up, fresh parsley, and carrots for flavor. I then sprinkled a generous portion of salt and pepper all over the outside of the bird, put it in the bag (once I put the recommended 1 tablespoon flour in the bag so it doesn’t explode, according to the directions) and put the whole think in the oven on 350 degrees for 3 hours 30 minutes. I actually forgot to put the flour into the bag pre-bird, and I am lucky that Nathan read the directions for the turkey bag since I never read directions. I ended up sprinkling flour into the bag after the turkey was already in there. I would have been super ticked if that bag had exploded turkey juice all over my clean oven. It was fine. Don’t judge!
Then I started having a little fun.
Next, I focused on side dishes. I made sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, normal dressing (both outside of the bird cause that turkey cavity grossed me out), homemade cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. Luckily, Nathan’s sister Cortney did the gravy. God bless her! I was so busy, I didn’t even take any pictures of the meal. Next time, someone remind me to do that. The spread was impressive. We ended up having a ton of leftovers which was great because everyone got lots of food to take home.
It ended up being a great day. I would totally do it again next year. I may have to take over Thanksgiving every year since I had so much fun. I hope all your Thanksgiving days went well!
Next up….the holidays with my family in 2 weeks to do it all over again!
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 (9 inch) pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into pie crust (homemade or store-bought *gasp*). Bake 15 minutes.
Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking 35 minutes or until knife is clean when inserted 1 inch from crust. Cool.
Store leftovers in the fridge.
Blueberry pie (adapted from here)
6 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and stems removed (if frozen, thaw and drain first)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
Use your favorite pie crust recipe (makes 2) or use store-bought *gasp again*! Put the pie crust in the pie plate (grease pie plate first)
Heat oven to 425F.
Gently mix blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon , lemon juice in a large bowl. Transfer them to the chilled pie crust. Dot with butter pieces. Top blueberry mixture with the other pie crust. Crimp edges. Put 4 diagonal cuts into the pie crust to let steam escape.
Place pie plate on top of a cookie sheet covered with wax paper to catch all the drips (it will drip, sorry).
Place in oven, bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 425F, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 40 minutes or until juices are bubbling and have thickened. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Pie crust (from Nathans mother)
Makes 2 crusts
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
Add 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
blend in with fork until consistency of cornmeal
Stir in 5 Tbsp cold water, until it forms a ball (may need an extra Tbsp occasionally if it is dry in the house)
Divide into two balls (top and bottom crust)
Roll out onto floured surface (I use my floured Silpat) about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to greased pie plate.
Country White Bread for Bread Machine
3-1/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast (dig a little hole into the flour and bury it so it doesn’t mix with the salt).
2 tbsp melted butter (for dinner rolls only)
2 tbsp buttered flavored shortening (for dinner rolls only)
1 cup and 1 tbsp water
4-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients in the order above.
check dough after 5 minutes of mixing. If needed, may add 1-2 Tbsp more water or flour as needed (I never need to do this at home)
Bake in bread machine if you wish.
Or you can set the bread machine to dough setting and bake the rest of the way in the oven for prettier bread:
Bake in oven 375 degrees x 24 minutes for bread in bread loaf pan
Bake in oven 350 degrees x 15 minutes dinner rolls, brush tops with more melted butter and serve.
Sweet potato casserole (from Great Value booklet handed out at Walmart…seriously)
5 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Cook sweet potatoes in large pot with water on stove top (approximately 40-50 minutes)
Preheat oven to 350F. Peel potatoes and cut up crosswise. Place into two separate 9 x 9 baking dishes
In medium bowl, stir brown sugar, flour and salt. Divide into two portions and sprinkle evenly over potatoes in both baking dishes.
Divide whipping cream in half and pour over the mixtures
Dot with butter
Bake both dished uncovered for 35 minutes. Top both with marshmallows. Place pecans or walnuts into one of the dishes (I don’t like nuts) and bake for 15 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.