Thanksgiving planning and sharing !!

Planning for Thanksgiving? I have already ordered a free-range fresh turkey that will be delivered on the Tuesday before the big day, and I plan to roast it in pieces after an overnight dry brine. Here’s the process and recipe I will use:

I have NEVER cooked a turkey on Thanksgiving that isn’t whole and stuffed, so this is a complete departure for me. Turkey is delicious no matter what, so I have high expectations. I have spit roasted whole small turkeys on a gas grill before, and that is absolutely delicious, if you want to try something different, but when I did it, it was July or August.

I love Brussels sprouts. I have a new recipe that I have already tried, and will prepare for Thanksgiving. Really, really good! The fresh lime juice and zest add just the right counterpoint to the sweetness of the glaze. It is called Brussels Sprouts With Pistachios and Lime. Here’s the recipe.

I ordered the date molasses from Amazon. If you don’t want to purchase it, I imagine that you could use all honey for the sweetener.

In addition to these new items, I will be making my usual Jiffy corn casserole, which the grandsons love, butternut squash, fresh cranberry sauce (made with orange and cinnamon), mashed potatoes, gravy, and hot rolls. I might also make a second main dish for my vegetarian grandson, but haven’t decided which one yet. Could be Rigatoni with Broccoli Sauce.

Are you making your plans?

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90 Responses to Thanksgiving planning and sharing !!

  1. glendl says:

    You have the biggest part done, the planning and you did a great job of it. Your selection looks great I am not sure as to our Thanksgiving plans, but more than likely it will be our daughte’s, husbands and the 3 grandsons.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Lucille says:

    Great admiration for your ambition and prep/cooking expertise, Stella! Folks can rely on me for a side dish, but we’d all have a great laugh at the thought of my preparing a turkey.

    Hopefully Grandson will take some photos you can post for us.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Menagerie says:

    Oh, I love this post. If all goes according to plan, we should be unpacked and settled in, life mostly back to normal by then. I will be looking forward to getting back to cooking for my family,and enjoying my puttering around in the kitchen.

    My husband’s family is a big one, and with three generations, sometimes four, if one of the last surviving aunts comes, we usually have about 50 people, plus or minus 10 or so. You never know who a family member will bring along, someone adrift on a holiday, and I like that about them.

    For my part, I always bring the sweet potato casserole with pecan topping, and Derby pies. This year I might take a fermented cranberry relish, if I can get it started in good time after moving.

    Sometimes, since we don’t eat at our house, and never have leftovers, I make a turkey on Black Friday, just because I like to kick off what I think off as the beginning of the holidays with turkey and dressing.

    Here’s a link for the relish. I am also planning to do just some fermented cranberries.

    https://learningandyearning.com/lacto-fermented-cranberry-relish

    Stella, there is a picture in that article that kind of reminds me of your mom and her sisters, but it is from a later time period than most of the ones you have shown of them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • stella says:

      You are right! The photo does remind me of mom and her sisters.

      Liked by 2 people

    • czarina33 says:

      Does the fermentation process leave you with an aperitif or digestif? Just thinking how much to prepare if people get to drinking it…

      Yes, turkey starts the season! Sometimes Czar can’t wait, and we have one early. But this year the weather stayed hot till about a week ago, so not very seasonal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Menagerie says:

    Here’s a sweet potato un-stuffing recipe. Looks lots healthier, and frankly, given my poor diet the last months, way better than the usual dressing I so love.

    https://therealfoodrds.com/sweet-potato-unstuffing/

    Lots of vegetables in this one, and it sounds delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. auscitizenmom says:

    I get to go to my son and dil’s this Thanksgiving. I was there several years ago for Thanksgiving and she made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Plus she loves to cook. And, the next day, she started on Christmas cookies. Plus, there are two grandchildren now. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  6. czarowniczy says:

    Still not sure what we’ll do, it’s looking like we may have a more non-traditional dinner on Thursday and a more traditional one when/if our GGS comes. Part of the fun’s the last minute panic.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Menagerie says:

      I used to have a boss from Louisiana. He always did non traditional on holidays, and it was usually seafood of some type, occasionally maybe steak. He was our store manager, and he used to order all of us assistant managers a smoked turkey from some place in Texas as our Christmas present. Oh boy, that was a wonderful treat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czarina33 says:

        My first in-laws were from New York City, and they ordered smoked turkeys every year which tasted like fine ham, not like smoke. Never seen any like that around here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WeeWeed says:

        Betcha it was a Greenberg turkey! They’re wonderful.

        https://gobblegobble.com/view/home

        Liked by 1 person

        • Menagerie says:

          That’s it Wee! Oh man, were they good. I might just order us one this year, we loved it. We used to eat it with a big meal, but the smoke flavor made it just great with cheeses and crackers, stuff like that, which we also like to do some during the holidays instead of a full meal.

          I always thought that it was a great gift idea, something you really appreciated. Thanks for finding this for me, I think I will get one.

          And another thing that you can order that is good. Scottish mincemeat pies. Something or other that nyet said last year led me to finding them. He may have given me the link, don’t remember, but they were excellent. Mincemeat is another thing I like that no one else does, so I rarely indludge. These things reek of liquor, which is of course one reason I love them.

          Walker’s Shortbread is the company, and I ordered various things from them, pleased with all of them.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Menagerie, That Louisiana boss probably ordered Greenberg Smoked Turkeys from Tyler, TX. They are wonderful and a couple of families I know have ordered them for more than 20 years.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Menagerie says:

    Here’s a link to some unusual recipes. Several really good looking turkey recipes included, as well as some vegetable and stuffing recipes. The stuffed apple looks so good, and I am about to check out the gruyere and carmelized onion mashed potato recipe. I have it open in a tab already.

    https://www.redbookmag.com/food-recipes/g852/epic-thanksgiving-recipes/?slide=30

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Menagerie says:

    Reblogged this on The Last Refuge and commented:
    If you’ve been around the Tree with us for awhile, you know we do recipe threads for the holidays, and we get lots of requests for them. This year I am in the middle of a move, so I am sharing stella’s post.

    You guys fire away, while people still have plenty of time to enjoy perusing the recipes and choosing the menu, as well as shopping for the ingredients.

    Don’t be stingy. Go on over to stella’s and share some recipes over there too!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Pingback: Thanksgiving planning and sharing !! | The Last Refuge

  10. Kathy says:

    Greetings, Menagerie !!!
    And thank you, Stella !!!

    Back over at the Treehouse, folks can type “Thanksgiving” in the search field (upper right-hand side of any CTH page) to bring up Thanksgiving recipe threads from previous years. A variety of other food/recipe threads can also be unearthed by typing “recipes” in that same CTH search field.

    Busy week ahead but, as soon as time permits, I will migrate several favorites here to Stella’s site.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Whitehouse Clown says:

    Double smoked ham, bacon candy, stuffing, ambrosia salad, happy beans. Sweet potato pie with whipped cream.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      What are happy beans? I’ve never heard of them, but sounds great. We love most kinds of beans.

      Liked by 1 person

    • czarina33 says:

      Bacon candy?!?!?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kathy says:

        This might be what’s also known as “Bacon Crack”.
        Lots of recipes on the web — and it is addicting!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kathy says:

          BACON CRACK

          1 container of Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet or regular Crescent Dough
          1 lb. Bacon, cooked semi-crispy
          1 cup Brown Sugar
          1/2 cup Maple Syrup
          A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

          Spread the dough thinly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently poke shallow holes in the dough with a fork. Top the dough with a thin layer of maple syrup and all the crispy bacon. Add another thin layer of the syrup onto the bacon and cover it with all of the brown sugar (or brown sugar/cayenne pepper mix).

          Bake it at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes and break/cut into pieces.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Kathy says:

        BACON CRACK

        1 container of Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet or regular Crescent Dough
        1 lb. Bacon, cooked semi-crispy
        1 cup Brown Sugar
        1/2 cup Maple Syrup, may vary
        A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

        Spread the dough thinly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently poke shallow holes in the dough with a fork. Top the dough with a thin layer of maple syrup and all the crispy bacon. Add another thin layer of the syrup onto the bacon and cover it with all of the brown sugar (or brown sugar/cayenne pepper mix).Bake it at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes and break/cut into pieces.

        Like

  12. czarowniczy says:

    Welcome to the family, notasmidgeon, hang in there – we’re non-toxic and the kind of family you don’t mind having Thanksgiving dinner with.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Kathy says:

    Half of the turkey meat served on Thanksgiving at our house could be considered “leftovers”. When I no longer had the strength to handle 20-plus-pound birds safely, I switched to roasting two 12- or 13-pounders. And soon after, I started roasting one of them the day before — carving it up and arranging it with eye appeal in an oven-safe pan, and refrigerating it overnight. Turkey #1 needs only to be reheated on Thanksgiving Day during those last 2 hours before “sit down” — when there’s chaos in the kitchen — and placed on the dinner table. And if more turkey meat is needed (depending on the number of guests), it is quick and easy to carve the breast of Turkey #2 and serve it on a separate platter.

    We also prepare our mashed potatoes the day before and refrigerate overnight. Then, about an hour before sitting down to eat, we simply reheat in the microwave and re-whip (adding more milk/cream to fluff them up). Except for the one time we ran out before Son #2 had his fill, there have never been any complaints.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. stella says:

    Article about biscuits – a frequent topic here. Comments welcome from our southerners!

    Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits
    There’s a scientific reason no one outside the South can nail them.

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-most-of-america-is-terrible-at-making-biscuits?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Liked by 3 people

    • czarina33 says:

      Putting white lilly flour on the list right now. Winn Dixie was just where I expected to find it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • JTR says:

      My Grandpa taught me how to make biscuits when I was about 8. He always said that if you don’t use White Lily, you’ve gone wrong! He also used lard and buttermilk, so his were the best, but not FOR you.
      I can remember his big strong hands showing me how to gently knead that dough {only 5 times} and telling me to not get rough with the dough.
      I miss my Grandpa.

      Liked by 4 people

    • just stevie says:

      Who knew? LOL! Being born and raised in New Orleans I should’ve known this…but sadly not! Now I’m ready to try again since I’m armed with ‘knowledge’ haha! Thanks for the article!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Okay, a little more time this morning. When I was a young bride my aunt, truly a world class cook, told me to never use any flour but White Lily for biscuits, and boy was she right. It is just such a thing down here in the South that we take it for granted.

      I re-emphasize the basics too. Don’t waste your time making biscuits unless you have buttermilk. Handle carefully, as little as possible. I quit rolling mine out and just gently flatten a ball of dough onto the pan.

      I’ve mentioned this before, and cannot say enough what a game changer this was for my already very good biscuits. Yep, it’s humility Wednesday, 😀 here. Use a pan instead of a cookie sheet. Cake pan, casserole, cast iron skillet. Whatever. The walls of the pan force the biscuits to rise up instead of out, and this makes them lighter and very good.

      Of course, it only works if you place them close enough together to force a rise, so if you are one who likes crusty biscuits and seperates them to get that, this technique is not for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • czarina33 says:

      Seems there is no White Lily flour in the Greater New Orleans area. Czar called everyone he could think of, and the map which shows where it is available is wrong. However, he bought a bag of Sunflour, so I wrote to them and got a repy this a.m. Seems Sunflour is made from soft red winter wheat, and the representative said it makes “heavenly, light biscuits”. So, if you can’t find one, maybe you can find the other brand.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. hokkoda says:

    Take two cans of Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce. Open them. Using a butter knife, break the air seal to slide the jellied cranberry sauce onto a serving plate. Slice into 1/2″ slices. Serve slightly chilled.

    Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Gbear says:

    Thank you for all the great ideas and leads for more ideas. I can only state Brussels Sprouts will not be on the menu.

    Like

  17. Kathy says:

    RENE’s COLE SLAW
    from a Paula Deen cookbook

    DRESSING: Combine these ingredients in a small glass bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the vegetables. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well.
    … 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I recommend Hellman’s)
    … 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
    … 1 tablespoon yellow hotdog mustard
    … 2 tablespoons honey

    SALAD: Place these ingredients in bowl large enough for mixing/tossing:
    … 5 cups shredded cabbage
    … 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
    … 1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted if desired)
    … 1/2 diced celery (I prefer sliced wafer thin)
    … 1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
    … 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

    =============================
    Note 1: This is a must-have for our Thanksgiving turkey dinners, and also my MOST-asked-for summer BBQ side dish. Nutritional information can be found at: http://recipeofhealth.com/recipe/paula-deens-renes-coleslaw-107332rb

    Note 2: I don’t mind shredding 5 cups of cabbage by hand. When doubling or tripling this recipe, however, I often use store-bought pre-shredded cabbage — just not the angel hair cut because it goes limp very quickly after the dressing is added.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Kathy says:

    THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH STUFFING

    Here’s an “outside-the-bird” dressing that my family has enjoyed for many years — especially when made with challah bread cubes. If time permits, I slice the dried cherries in half or quarters for better distribution. The pork sausage (either “breakfast” or “sage” flavors) is probably what helps keep it moist. Store-bought jarred gravy (half turkey, half chicken) can also be placed nearby to drizzle over the top. … https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=6950343

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Kathy says:

    CRANBERRY DESSERT

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

    Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar. Add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup hot water, and 2 tsp. vanilla.

    Sift together 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt. Add to above mixture.

    Stir in 4 cups fresh whole cranberries and 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes.

    Scoop individual portions onto plates — the texture of this “cake” will be soft — then drizzle generously with ICE CREAM SAUCE:

    In a medium saucepan, gently melt 1/2 cup butter. Stir in 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tbsp. flour until combined. Slowly add 1/2 cup half-and-half (or light cream). Bring to a simmer and cook 3-5 minutes until thick, stirring constantly. Add vanilla if desired.

    Please note that this Ice Cream Sauce solidify if allowed to sit out for too long, making it less appealing. So I usually serve the sauce in a thermal gravy dispenser, which makes “drizzling” easier and also quick to reheat in the microwave.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. JTR says:

    This year, my niece is having Thanksgiving at her house yet again! She is a District Manager for Waffle House (open 24/7) so, this year it’s going to be on the 16th. Between her husband’s family, our family, Waffle House Folk and friends and neighbors, it’s always over 100 people. She rents a big tent, and cooks most of the food herself. There are a lot of rowdy children running around, Horse-back riding, a pack of dogs, and good music playing!
    We have a few preachers in the family, so no drinking! It really is a good time that I look forward to every year. Her Mom (my eldest sister) would be so proud of what she is doing keeping the family close.

    Liked by 5 people

    • wlbeattie says:

      Oh My Goodne. My mouth is watering – and I’m fasting for a procedure!
      I’ll save this link & reread it in a couple of days!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      This sounds a lot like our family get together for Thanksgiving, even larger than ours. We even have a bouncy house for the kiddies, which has been a game changer for parents trying to run after the little ones, keep them from getting bored and tired and cranky. My sweet sister in law, who always hosts our wild, crazy bunch, thought of this. I’ve heard the young parents say they’d sure chip in to pay for it because it has made the day so much better with the kids.

      So far we’ve had a few colder days (rare) where they had to keep coats on to jump, but usually the weather blesses us, and I don’t really remember any bad rainy days.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. johnathanc says:

    When you’re making your gravy and are reducing the pan drippings and broth down, add some poultry seasoning and some Madeira cooking wine (2 tablespoons or so. Let this all cook down before you add the roux- flour and butter – to thicken it. The Madeira cooking wine adds such an exotic, vibrant flavor to the gravy, it will make the entire meal. Good gravy makes the turkey better!

    Liked by 4 people

  22. jeans2nd says:

    Never cooked a turkey or a Thanksgiving dinner in my life, and at my well-advanced age, am not going to start now.

    However…
    Not certain if i’ve shared this or not, ah fergit at my well-advanced age, but these always are a holiday fav…from my old Amish neighbors –

    Copper Penny Carrots
    Fry up a slab of thick-sliced bacon crispy, preferably from your own shoat, preferably in a cast-iron skillet.
    Remove bacon and set aside
    Saute 1 lb (more or less) of fresh sliced carrots in the remaining bacon grease, preferably fresh-pulled carrots from your own garden
    After carrots are tender (tender enough for you), crumble set-aside bacon into carrots and serve warm.

    No idea as to calories, fat content, etc., but probably not healthy enough for your doctor to approve. But they sure are good.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Lanna says:

    Posted this at the Treehouse, thought I should share it here too.

    Great thread, Stella!

    Reminder: If you make homemade cranberry sauce, it takes 48 hours in the fridge to gel properly.

    If you want a cranberry sauce with less sugar, use the basic back-of-the-bag recipe (12 oz. cranberries, 1 C. water, 1 C. sugar) but reduce sugar to 1/2 C. and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda. The baking soda reduces the acidity of the berries, so less sugar can be used. The reduced sugar sauce gels a bit less than the full sugar recipe. I thought of experimenting with reducing the water by 1/4 C. or adding a tsp. of unflavored gelatin (softened in a small amount of water, stirred into cranberry mixture after cooked, but while still hot) to increase the gel, but haven’t tried either yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. WeeWeed says:

    Stella, the vegetarian grandson might like this dish – the taste is something like lasagna. I used to have to make it every time a vegetarian buddy of my child slept over.
    ,
    Lucy’s Eggplant

    1 med. eggplant
    1 can diced or stewed tomatoes
    1 onion
    Mushrooms
    1 cup Parmesan cheese

    Peel and chop eggplant into cubes. Put into pan with tomatoes and cook until eggplant is soft and transparent (about 20 or so minutes.) Meanwhile, sauté diced onion in oil until soft – add sliced mushrooms. Mix all together with about 1/2 – 3/4 c. Parmesan. Put all into casserole dish with remaining Parmesan on top. Bake at 350* for another 20 minutes or so.
    I HAVE thrown in lasagna noodles on occasion when the rest of us were having regular lasagna. Just as good!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. just stevie says:

    Hey guys! Here is something I’ve fixed in the past when Angelle and I don’t have the time or energy to go the whole meal routine…Delicious and filling!

    Stuffed Apples
    Start with – 4 honey-crisp apples (or any other cooking apple)
    Core out the whole apple, then enlarge the hole that you’ve made
    (No need to peel)
    Cut the knobbies off the bottom so the apples sit straight in the pan
    Put them aside on a paper towel to dry

    In a bowl, combine 1/2 to a 1 lb of any good bulk breakfast sausage
    One egg, and
    about 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice
    Then add about a half cup of firmly packed brown sugar
    Along with a half cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    Mix all of this together (I find that using hands works best)
    When it’s all together, get some Bisquick and add it a little at a time until the mixture is the consistency of raw stuffing

    Stuff each apple in the hole you made
    Really pack it in there and be generous
    Take some room temperature butter and coat each apple completely
    Place apples in a buttered baking dish.
    Put one pat of butter on each apple on the stuffing part
    Sprinkle each apple with some sugar

    Bake at 400 degrees until a sharp knife inserted in the apple goes smoothly
    You want it done, but not apple pie mushy
    During baking if you think the tops are getting too brown, just cover with foil

    Let them sit a few minutes before serving
    This will allow them to “set” and cool, but you want to serve them warm
    If you like you can serve them with a lemon (or whiskey) sauce

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Kathy says:

    Greetings, Stella … For the past couple years, this Keto-friendly salad (2 carbs per serving) has been requested for our neighborhood Octoberfest. The first time I took it, four men sought me out to ensure I shared the recipe with the hosting family. It does include bacon but, for vegetarian guests, this could be omitted and still be delicious. My only modification is to prepare the dressing the night before — adding half the onion and bacon — which pre-distributes these flavors into the dressing.

    LOW-CARB LOADED BROCCOLI CAULIFLOWER SALAD
    (Serves 12) … Author = Denise Wright, MyLifeCookbook.com

    INGREDIENTS
    ….. 1 cup mayonnaise
    ….. 1 tablespoons Swerve
    ….. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    ….. 3 cups raw broccoli
    ….. 3 cups raw cauliflower
    ….. 1/2 red onion, finely diced
    ….. 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
    ….. 8 oz. bacon, fried and crumbled
    ….. 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces, rough chopped

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. In a bowl add the mayonnaise, Swerve and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.
    2. In a large bowl add the dressing and all the other ingredients and mix well.
    3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. just stevie says:

    In a couple of the comments above, wine is used for gravy, soups, etc.
    If you guys would be so kind as to list your preferences of what types/brands of wine to buy…I’ve never used wine but would like to try it!
    thanks!

    Like

    • stella says:

      I use whatever I have in the house to drink. If I were doing a mushroom sauce or a pot roast, I would recommend a Pinot Noir. For seafood sauces, chicken or pork, I would probably use a nice dry white wine, like a Chardonnay, or even a Pinot Grigio (which is a bit more fruity). The important thing is to be sure to cook off the alcohol (see article I linked to).

      Liked by 3 people

  28. Conservative_302 says:

    Hungarian nut roll is out of this world good. https://www.browneyedbaker.com/nut-roll-recipe/

    Liked by 2 people

  29. auscitizenmom says:

    Mandarin Coleslaw
    1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
    2 TBSP sugar
    1 tsp vinegar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    8 oz. coleslaw (1/2 bag)
    1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges (drained)

    Combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper
    Place coleslaw in salad bowl. Toss with dressing and thoroughly blended.
    Gently fold in oranges. Serve

    (I used regular mayo, a little brown sugar (too hard to reach the white), no salt or pepper, a little sweet relish (instead of vinegar – I was too lazy to find the vinegar) and mandarin oranges in natural juice. It still came out delicious. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Michael Lee says:

    25 years of cooking Turkeys, first for friends and now for a combined family & friends event. I have tried pretty much every combination of buying and cooking a turkey imaginable. What I have learned is…

    1. Expensive turkeys don’t deliver better flavor — “fresh” from the grocery (which aren’t fresh — just thawed, but can go through freeze/thaw multiple times), direct from a turkey farm, premium brand named, kosher and the 1950s-style frozen as solid as a rock.

    Buy an UNTREATED (i.e. not Buttlerball injected thing) FROZEN bird, thaw it, brine it and leave a day or so to let it dry out in the fridge. In a good year that’s 50 cents a pound and then donate the other $30 to $75 you didn’t spend to a food bank.

    Brining is key — turkey is bland. Basic salt or salt & sugar brine would do. I don’t mind the extra work, so I put other things in the brine based on Alice Water’s recipe. (Yes, she’s part of the far-left, but all good recipes are universal and bipartisan.)

    Stuff or don’t stuff? Doesn’t matter — you still have the challenge of cooking two types of meat (dark and light) to different temps.

    Solution is from Julia Child (or Cook’s Illustrated) — cut the turkey into the breast chunk and the legs. Use the rest of the carcass to make turkey stock which forms the base for a kick ass gravy. You brown the parts, which adds to the flavor you want in the gravy after deglasing the roasting pan.

    The “deconstructed” trukey cooks on a large (good quality) baking sheet, with the stuffing sitting underneath the large breast chunk. If your group likes dark meat, buy more thighs. If presentation is an issue (does anyone really do the full Norman Rockwell and bring a fully cooked turkey to the table and carve in in front of the guests???), you can artfully position the legs back near the breast.

    If dark is cooking slower than the breast or vice versa, just pull it out. If the dressing needs more time, no problem.

    If you have good knife skills, separate the drumstick from the thigh and debone the thigh. Then, stuff it and tie is up and you have the most awesome dark meat imaginable.

    It cooks fast at a low temp, and their is still time for the crust to crisp. No high heat cooking (which I found drys out the white meat) needed. And once its rested, carving goes very fast and you can serve it hot. (If know one cares about the wishbone, carve it out before cooking the turkey — slicing through the breast goes even faster.)

    I guarantee:

    1. Cheap!
    2. Awesome flavor
    3. Fast cooking the day of and each item cooks to the right (SAFE!) temp (white meat, dark meat, stuff)
    4. Fast carving
    5. Moist, flavorful stuffing — and much more than you could get stuffing it into a bird
    6. Most of the work can be done in advance, so you have more time to spend with the family
    7. If you need to cook two birds and your oven is large enough, they can cook on a lower and middle shelf — no need for 2 ovens.

    Skip buying an expensive bird (unless you really feel the turkey should be raised free range on a small farm). Skip stuffing a bird, overcooking the meat so the stuffing is safe, and then having to “unstuff”.

    Don’t skip brining and making your own turkey stock in advance so you have great tasting gravy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • stella says:

      I am having a free range pasture raised turkey this year, delivered to my house by the farm that raised it. I have ordered other meats and poultry from this fairly local Michigan farm, and they are excellent. Yes, they are more expensive. I am disjointing the bird and dry brining for 24 hours, and cooking the stuffing/dressing separately. I always make my own turkey stock. I already have extra turkey necks in the freezer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      Turkeys are natural omnivores. Pasture-raised turkeys forage for grass, they eat bugs, worms, small mice plus fruits and veggies. This diverse diet leads to incredible flavor! Conventional turkeys are housed indoors and fed a high protein diet consisting of mostly grains like soy and corn. Turkeys are what they eat and the flavor comes out in the meat.

      Pasture raised turkey meat contains higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. These Omega-3 fatty acids come from the lush green grasses and foliage. The good fats are then stored in the turkey’s muscle meat.

      Liked by 3 people

      • czarina33 says:

        Maybe one day we’ll get the stuff together to raise our own fowl.

        Like

        • stella says:

          I don’t mean to lecture. Last year I had an cheap frozen turkey from the supermarket, and it was fine. I was just trying to make the point that the pasture raised turkeys are more nutritious and delicious. Like eggs – better if you have your own chickens because they are fresh and your chickens have a varied diet.

          Like

    • czarina33 says:

      We buy turkeys when they fall to 39 or 49 cents a pound. We have brined in the past. Around here some people have their own special brines, my friend’s father uses Italian dressing! I always loved the dressing from inside the bird but gave it up when the scolds told us to not do that: pleased to learn a way to get that special flavor.

      Like

  31. Elizabeth Ottke says:

    Asparagus Quiche
    1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    10 slices bacon
    2 (8 inch) unbaked pie shells
    1 egg white, lightly beaten
    4 eggs
    1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place asparagus in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Drain and cool. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

    Brush pie shells with beaten egg white. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and chopped asparagus into pie shells.

    In a bowl, beat together eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle Swiss cheese over bacon and asparagus. Pour egg mixture on top of cheese. Bake uncovered in preheated oven until firm, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

    Liked by 1 person

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