Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tales

As you may remember from Wednesday, I told you that I was going to be making Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. I am about to fill you in on all the details, from bravely touching the huge raw turkey, to serving up my favorite pumpkin pie. I have lots to tell, so I will try to keep it brief and organized!

To begin, here is a picture of us and our wonderful friends who joined us for Thanksgiving!

Allow me to start with the planning. I chose the menu items and then made a grocery list. Simple as that. We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, rolls, green bean casserole, carrots with dip, and pumpkin pie. There were a few things that I didn't make but would have liked to have: cheese ball, sweet potato pie, my french apple pie and cranberry ginger ale. Given the small party, light budget, and my inexperience, we kept things simple. I also cut a few corners by using store bought rolls and making the usual canned-ingredient green bean casserole instead of a homemade one that I would like to try. I would have liked to do everything homemade, but as I mentioned above, I needed to keep things simple. Especially since I worked until 8:00 the night before!

Now to move onto the preparation. I put the turkey out to thaw on Tuesday (did I mention that we got our 14-pound turkey for $4.07?! It was a great deal!) I made the pie crust on Wednesday and kept it in the fridge. Thursday after work I made the pumpkin pie, and also put together the cheesy potato and green bean casseroles.

Friday morning I prepped the veggies and spice rub for the turkey. Then the part I had been fearing. De-gutting the turkey. I've heard horror stories of reaching into the cavity abyss to pull out gizzards (and might I add that gizzards and giblets are gross words?). Getting the turkey out of the fridge without spilling the nasty juices that were on the plate under it was quite a difficult task. After getting my workout for the day, I slowly cut the wrapper off the turkey.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

{Source: Bing images}
There was a small, tidy bag sticking out of the cavity. So I pulled it out and thought, that was easy! I looked inside and was surprised at how small the cavity was, especially since I had a large pile of veggies to put in there; only about 1/5 of them fit (see below for the reason why)! So I rubbed the turkey with spices, filled it with veggies, and put it breast side down in my roasting pan. I then made the stuffing and put it in the crockpot.

Two hours later the turkey came out of the oven and the two casseroles went in. I boiled water and began cutting the potatoes while the turkey sat and got juicy. Then I made the gravy and mashed potatoes.

Jeremiah carved the turkey (and did a great job for his first time)! But there was one small surprise. The neck and the giblet bag were still in the turkey!!! Umm, gross! Apparently, I only pulled out a gravy mix, not everything else! I was so surprised, and thought to myself, no wonder the cavity seemed so small! But the turkey tasted good in spite of my missed body-part removal. And I might also mention that the turkey literally fell off the bones when we took it out of the pan. I guess that's a good thing, right?!

And then we ate! And it was all delicious!

I was happy with the timing of everything. It all stayed hot and was done as planned. I now have confidence that I can host any big holiday feast! My only complaint was the size of my kitchen. I hardly had working space and had to use my dining table, which meant that I didn't have the table set and ready like I hoped, but that's okay. In the end, it all worked out great!

I forgot to take pictures while cooking, but here is the link to view and print the turkey recipe. I highly recommend it to you! I plan to post recipes for the stuffing, cheesy potato casserole, and pie at a later date.

Two-hour Turkey adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Bravo Monica! I love reading about your adventures in the kitchen! You would be the best host ever, I am confident. Turkey falling off the bones, nice! And of course Jeremiah did a great job carving, always a great artist! Did you serve everything at the table family style, including Turkey on a platter? I forgot your friends had a baby...what is its name? Looks to be a boy. Love you and miss you, hope to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner someday and I can bring the cheeseball!