Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Only a week from today we will all be sitting down with family and friends to enjoy a fabulous feast.  Probably the usual turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert.  You will also probably have a various assortment of your family's favorite salad, veggie or pickled item.  Whether this is your first Thanksgiving that you're serving or your 50th - you're probably already thinking about what to serve and how the heck long am I gonna bake this turkey anyways.  Turkeys that spend a bit too much time in the oven come out dry and I don't know anyone who likes dry turkey.  It does allow you to pour more gravy on your plate, and who doesn't like gravy?  I had a friend ask me last week what she should serve besides the obvious.  This is the first thanksgiving she's preparing herself and of course she wants everyone to enjoy it!  The first thing I told her is that Russian Creme is a must at our house.  Everyone loves it.  I should really make it more often.  It's quite simple to make, really.  It's only time consuming because the layers need to firm up in the refrigerator.  If you are looking for a new fruit salad to try for your Thanksgiving Meal - that may be it!  Mashed potatoes are great, but I wanted to try a different way of making them last year so I found this great recipe for Mashed Potato Layer Bake which of course I adapted to make my own.  It went over really well and I plan to make it again... maybe for this Thanksgiving!  I have a really good recipe for a Crock Pot Stuffing that I may make this year also.  I haven't made it in years, but it's good.  It's not 'fluffy' like regular stuffing, it's got more of a bread pudding texture to it, but the flavor is wonderful.  

For those who are back to my first question about how long to bake a turkey, here is some basic info for a moist turkey.  You should really be sure to put your turkey in a refrigerator 4 to 5 days so that it can thaw out (in a pan to catch all the drippings), but if you forgot and need to quick thaw it fill your kitchen sink with cool water and place the bird (still in the package) breast down.  Leave in water for a half our for each pound and change your water often.  Once it's thawed out and you're removing the package from the bird, PLEASE CHECK THE CAVITY and remove whatever is there!  I don't think you want to bake that with your turkey.  :)  You can bake your giblets along with your turkey though, I just wouldn't leave them inside the bag.

Now when you're ready to put the bird in the oven - it doesn't have to bake for HOURS on end unless you have a really large bird.  So you probably shouldn't have to get up and put it in your oven at 6am to eat at noon.  I also wouldn't go by those pop-up timers because by the time the timer has popped, the bird is already dry.  Place your bird in your roasting pan.  Scoop up some butter and spread around every part of your turkey (I use my hands for this and rub on a good layer).  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper then wrap your roasting pan in foil or put your lid on it if you have a lidded roaster.  Preheat your oven to 325.  Bake the turkey for 12 minutes per pound.  So if you have a 10 pound turkey, you should bake it for about 120 minutes (2 hours).  Remove the foil off for the last hour of baking.  The temp inside the leg of the turkey should be 175.  Even if it's not quite 175 you can still take it out of the oven and let it sit inside the foil for a bit longer.  It will continue cooking in the pan with the foil.  If your turkey still ends up a bit too try, you can slice it all up and pour some chicken broth over it all.

Here's what I plan to make for dessert this year Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie, but I had another girlfriend tell me the other day that she plans to make my Crock Pot Cranberry-Apple Cobbler recipe.

Oh - and don't forget to maybe make some Hot Buttered Rum mixture so everyone, including the kids (the rum is optional and added to individual mugs), can enjoy something hot to drink whey they arrive at your home.  It's chilly out there!!  

I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! 

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