Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Holiday Trinity: Turkey Day Menu!

The cool thing about Thanksgiving, IMHO, is that it's a basic menu that most people follow, but there's room for individual twists and spins. I loooove reading housewifery magazines to see what variations they offer for recipes, but I'll admit that my own menu is fairly traditional because, well, I like the traditional stuff, and The Hubs is finicky so I don't even have that much room or point for variety. Seriously, of my menu, The Hubs will most likely stick to turkey, a little stuffing, and lots of mashed potatoes with gravy. That's IT. Sheesh. (Though in his defense, he loves my step-grandma's food, which is where we will eat on actual Thanksgiving - he chows down on her cornbread dressing and greens, and hell, I don't even like greens.)

So since I enjoy seeing what the possibilities are from other people, I figured it was only fair to share my menu and my version of the recipes. Hopefully this is helpful, and makes you hungry for Thursday!

Wondering where the rest of the meal is? I'm asking my in-laws to bring a dessert and my cousins to bring an appetizer, so all I have to worry about is the main meal and the drinks (which we already have leftover unopened bottles of wine, beer, so all we need is soda). I'm picking up a can of mixed nuts, too, so there's something to nosh on if people arrive hungry.
  • Turkey (12-14 lbs)
  • Mashed Potatoes*
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Stuffing*
  • Corn Casserole ^
  • Gravy
  • Biscuits
* = I'm making it the night before; I'm also prepping a gravy slurry the day before so all I have to do is mix in turkey drippings.
^ = making it in a slow-cooker to save room in the oven/headache
I make a butter compound out of a stick of softened butter, sage, thyme, and garlic powder (I wing the amounts, sorry) and rub it under the skin AND on top of the skin. I stuff the cavity with a carrot, celery, and an onion cut in half. Then I roast it upside down in THIS bad boy:
It's actually a hand-me-down from my MIL, when she officially "retired" from Thanksgiving and I took over. =) It works GREAT! Takes it out of soaking in its own juice. If you're wondering why I roast it upside-down, I learned this trick helps make the breast meat perfectly juicy. Mmmm.

The only thing I HAVEN'T figured out is how to get the skin all nice and crispy. =( The meat has always turned out great, but the skin is always just... well, skin.

Mashed potatoes:
I use a recipe from allrecipes.com (below), with a modification from The Pioneer Woman of adding the slices of butter to the top, covering in foil, and baking. That last step makes them UNBELIEVABLE, I assure you. OMG.

Yields: 12 servings
"You can make these ahead several days and store in the fridge. If baking cold, let stand 30 minutes first. Originally submitted to ThanksgivingRecipe.com."
5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and mashed (YUKON GOLDS OR NOTHING, they naturally taste buttery. SERIOUSLY.)
2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

1. Combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, seasoning salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well and place in a large casserole.
2. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 50 minutes. (*Add the pats of butter all over the top for extra creaminess!)
Broccoli Casserole:
This stuff is the best. It's an improvement over green bean casserole, and broccoli is my favorite veggie. My MIL and SIL literally request this when it's my turn to cook! I modified the original recipe, in that I use onion powder (picky The Hubs) and replaced the butter+cracker crumbs with French Fried Onions (which I also mix a good handful of them into the soup mixture). So creamy and melty, mmmm!

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes  Ready In: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

1 Tbsp onion powder
2 (10 ounce) packages chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of  mushroom soup
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1.5 tsps lemon juice
French-fried onions, the big can

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. In a 2 quart casserole dish, mix together onion powder, broccoli, soup, cheese, mayonnaise, eggs, garlic salt, pepper, a big handful of french-fried onions, and lemon juice. Sprinkle fried onions on top!
4. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.

Corn Casserole:
I'm using this recipe in my smaller crockpot for about 4 hours on high... watching it like a hawk the whole time, 'cuz it's my first time doing it this way. I love the sweet pops of corn, so I'm making it again.   

This is where I totally cheat and use Stove Top with some dressing-up. Screw the foodie snobs, I actually LIKE Stove Top. How do I make it fancier? Easy: I replace the water with chicken broth, and I brown some "sweet" turkey sausage (out of the casing so it's like ground turkey) to fold in. It really adds something to it. Since I'm most likely feeding double the people this year, I'm making a big batch the day before, putting it in a baking dish, and heating it up in the oven the next day so it gets a little crispy on top as it warms. 

I've never made my own gravy before, but I'm going to risk it this year. I'm using a lazy version of Martha Stewart's recipe from the Nov. 2011 issue of "Martha Stewart Living", which is to basically make a slurry out of turkey broth and flour, then add pan drippings (with fat separated out) until it's all smooth. This recipe isn't the same, but it's close to the magazine version, and it's from Martha, so you can't really go wrong. I just figured it'd be nicer than the powdered envelope mix I usually make. =)

Again, I'm trashy/lazy and I'm using the Pillsbury GRANDS! pre-made dough. I LIKE THEM, AND IT'S EASY. 

1 comment:

  1. Crispy skin... turn the turkey right side up for the last 20 minutes or so and I think TENT with foil as well.



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