Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My First Thanksgiving - The Update

Well, Thanksgiving was a success. Unfortunately, I failed you. I didn’t take any pictures. To be fair to myself, on top of preparing the meal, I had a lot on my mind. My father-in-law ended up having to have a triple bypass on Wednesday and my thoughts were with him more than on this blog.

He made it through the surgery very well and is recovering like a champ. We had something to be very thankful for.

On to the meal – I was nervous about making the turkey, just because I’ve heard so many people talk about how difficult they are to make well. Honestly, the worst things about it were A) it was HEAVY and slippery, and B) I got the heebies when I had to reach in and remove the neck from the body cavity. Other than that IT WAS EASY!

Here is what I did (beyond the basic rinse and pat dry). On Wednesday night I softened three sticks of salted butter. To the butter I added about 2 tablespoons each of chopped sage and rosemary, about a third cup of thyme, the zest of one lemon and a half capful of Garlic Garlic. I then wrapped this in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to let it harden. The next day after the basic prep work, I gently ran my hand up between the skin and meat of the turkey and put slices of the butter mixture over the whole thing. I stuffed the cavity with two halved lemons, an onion (quartered), three bulbs of garlic and the remainder of the butter mixture. I brushed the outside of the bird with olive oil, lightly salted and peppered and added a light coat of paprika over the whole thing (to make it look prettier and browner). I tented the bird and roasting pan with foil (I was sure to seal it well) and let it roast. I didn’t bother basting, the butter under the skin kept the meat so moist and the herbs really gave it good flavor.

(from the Good Housekeeping website)

Wednesday night I made the cranberry sauce. I mentioned that I was going to use this recipe and I did. I didn’t have any whole star anise and although it would have been super pretty, I wasn’t about to shell out the money to use them on only one dish. In place of the star anise, I used about a teaspoon of Warm Up Mulling Spice. It was fantastic. This recipe tasted so good and made my house smell wonderful.

My mashed potatoes turned out well. I imagine that mashed potatoes are something that would be difficult to mess up but to be honest, I’ve never made them before. We rarely eat potatoes in my house so it just isn’t something I think about. I used a basic recipe with ten pounds of potatoes with butter, salt, pepper and buttermilk. Next time I do these I will do something to jazz them up a bit. Not that they were bad, I just like a little more flavor in my food.

I made my stuffing exactly how I planned to. I used four boxes of turkey flavored Stove Top, replaced half the water called for with chicken stock, and added a chopped onion and celery to the mix. I baked it at 350 for about a half hour to give it a crunchy crust and it was amazing. I love Stove Top J

(from the Better Homes and Gardens website)

For my sweet potatoes I ended up using this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. It was super easy, I made it up the night before and just had it ready to pop into the oven the next day. Even though it was a little too sweet for me, it got rave reviews from my family and I think it will make a comeback next year.

I need to thank my mom for making the Green Bean Casserole and pies (apple and pumpkin!). They were fantastic and a great help! I ended up not making anything else, we had so much as it was. After all, there were only five of us (including a two year old!). I’m so proud of myself for doing this, I really proved that anything is possible!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did anyone else step outside of their comfort zone or host for their first time? I’m looking forward to Christmas and showing my craft projects. It is going to be a great season!

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