Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Today I’m knee-deep in preparations for Thanksgiving dinner! We decided this year to have our own little family celebration, so I’m not going “all out,” but I’m still making quite a bit of food! Here is what’s on our menu for tomorrow:

*Roast Turkey (duh!) :) and Gravy
*Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes
*Sweet Potato Casserole w/Marshmallows on top
*Creamed Onions
*Cranberry Sauce (from a can)
*Honey Rolls
*Pumpkin Pie and possibly Apple Pie

I made the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes today, and also the rolls. And I’m planning to make the pumpkin pie today also. So I should have a pretty easy time tomorrow getting the rest of the dinner ready. As I was cooking away, I got to thinking about different menu items/methods of cooking, etc. and thought it would be fun to do a little questionairre (not that any of you probably have time to answer it, but anyway . . . ). Here it is:

1. What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? Do you stay home, have family come over, or go over to someone else’s house?

2. How do you cook the turkey? Brine it? Reynolds bag? Traditional roasting? Grill? Deep-fry? (I use a Reynolds bag.)

3. Do you stuff the turkey or make the stuffing separately? Do you call it stuffing, or dressing? (Stuffing isn’t high on our list of favorites, so we’re skipping it this year!)

4. Do you use the giblets for gravy or toss them? (I’ve never used them (so far)--I guess they kind of gross me out, so I just stick with a simple gravy using the turkey drippings. And the giblets get tossed.)

5. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Or are you always too full to eat any? :)

6. Cranberry sauce from a can, or homemade? (I love the jellied kind from the can--yeah, I know it’s not healthy, but we don’t have it very often so I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. :))

7. Fancy table decor, or casual? (I’m hoping to dress up my table a bit . . . I’ll definitely take pictures if it actually happens. Cloth napkins and candles are going to be on the table too!)

Well, that’s all I can think of for right now, and my kitchen is calling me to come load the dishwasher and wash the pots and pans. I’m hoping to get up another post about things I’m thankful for, before today is over. Hope the rest of you are having fun with your Thanksgiving day prep, as well!


Joanne said...

1. Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, buttered corn, dressing, pumpkin pie and apple pie.
We'll be staying home.

2. Traditional roasting.

3. This is very high on the list for us! I cook it outside the bird. And am torn between calling it what I grew up calling it, stuffing, and what my husband calls it, dressing.

4. No. I just make gravy from chicken stock :-). The giblets get tossed.

5. We are having the pies tonight so everyone can enjoy them. We're usually too full for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner.

6. Never tried it.

7. Dressed up a little, but still fairly casual. I don't have any candles, will be using the everyday china (don't have a 'company' set yet) and silverware, will have a tablecloth on the table, but will use paper napkins.

Rachel said...

1. Roast turkey, make-ahead mashed potatoes (your mom's recipe), green bean bake, scalloped corn, stuffing, gravy (I'm going to try your mom's recipe this year:) ), marshmallow salad, cole slaw and homemade rolls. Desserts include - cheesecake with homemade lemon curd, apple pie, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, cookies and fudge. I love turnips and squash but no one else does so I am saving myself the trouble this year. My hubby loves candied sweet potatoes but they bother his Crohn's big time, so we're skipping those too. We used to go to my parents' house but my brother-in-law is coming over from S.C. to be with us. :)

2. Brine the turkey and am doing the Reynolds bag for the first time this year.

3. We HAVE to have stuffing or I would be fired from Thanksgiving dinner prep.!!! My husband loves stuffing so I make 3 boxes to have plenty of leftovers.

4. Giblets = yucky (IMO)

5. Lemon Cheesecake is my favorite dessert.

6. We don't care for cranberry sauce even though it looks pretty on the table.

7. I'm not much of a decorator but I'm going to attempt a nicer table set up this year. Good food is more important to my husband than a pretty table:).

What a fun questionnaire! I did a lot ahead of time this year. I made all of the pie crusts ahead of time and froze them, cooked down the pumpkin, made a freezer make-ahead apple pie filling, assembled the casseroles and make-ahead mashed potatoes. Yesterday, I did all of the busy work so that I could just assemble everything today instead of spending all day in the kitchen. As it was, I still spent a good 4 hours in there and I'm still not quite done. I enjoy preparing for Thanksgiving but I'm glad that it's not a weekly occurrence! I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving with your family.

Alicia said...

How funny that you're making creamed onions! I have a pal from Maine and she insists on making them every year - this is the first year I've ever even heard of them! We're eating with her and her family this year so I'll get to experience them firsthand. :)

1. Traditional fare- turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, rolls, green beans (NOT casserole), pumpkin & apple pie

2. Never had to do a whole turkey so I have no idea!

3. Separate.

4. EW! Even the word "giblets" sounds disgusting . . .

5. Homemade pumpkin pie (with roasted pumpkin not the canned stuff) with homemade fresh whipped cream and a steaming cup of coffee to go with it. Ahhhh. Who could ever be too full for dessert?!?

6. I grew up LOVING the canned cranberry sauce but now I love the real stuff. So easy and yummy and good for you (exepct the sugar of course).

7. We always grew up having a fancy schmancy table setting but not sure about this year since we're eating at a friend's house.

Happy turkey day to you!

Samara said...

1. Visiting the Mr.'s family this year, but before we've had folks over.
2. We roast a turkey breast with lots of seasonings.
3. We make a sausage stuffing that's soooo good. I never liked it until the Mr. made it; now we sometimes make two batches so that we can have turkey/mashed potato/stuffing sandwiches all weekend.
4. I cook the giblets and give them to the dog.
5. I make apple & pumpkin pies, sometimes fancy, sometimes simple. Love pecan as well but haven't done it in awhile.
6. The real stuff is great, but I've never made it- gotta have my MIL show me how!
7. Fancy as possible, which may mean not at all :) I did make a yarn pumpkin this year which may be a table decoration. We're not really into the holiday decorating except for Christmas, but that may change if/as we have more kids and they start getting into it.

Mrs.T said...

I'm a bit late responding to this questionnaire, but thought it was such a fun one that I wanted to take part anyway. And I must admit that I am very, very impressed with you young moms who are so ambitious in your cooking and decorating for Thanksgiving. Good for you!

1. My Thanksgiving menu was as follows:

Turkey/Stuffing/Gravy, Squash, Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Creamed Onions, Cranberry-Cherry Sauce with Ginger and Lime, Tossed Salad, Rolls, Assorted Pies, Fudge, Mulled Cider, Coffee. I must add that I stole the fudge idea from Rachel, and also that the green bean casserole (which my sister-in-law brought in one of those insulated carriers) never even made it to the table! We forgot all about it until after the meal!

2. I use a Reynolds bag for the turkey.

3. I cook the stuffing separately. Often, I cook it in the crockpot; this year, just baked it in a covered casserole. I really prefer the taste of stuffing cooked inside the turkey, but I don't enjoy the stuffing process and it cooks more quickly unstuffed. This year I just used a bag of the regular Pepperidge Farm kind and added sauteed celery/onion and some dried cranberries. People raved over it.

4. I toss the giblets. I've never used them for anything, not even soup.

5. Hmmm.. favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Probably a layered pumpkin dessert which is known among some of our friends as "Joanna and Emily's Pumpkin Dessert". Neither Carrie nor I made that this year, but it is yummy. Caramel pecan pie (which I also didn't make this year) would be another favorite.

6. Usually I serve cranberry sauce from a can, and usually serve both the jellied and the whole berry. This year I tried a recipe from Cook & Tell for a whole-berry sauce with dried tart cherries, lime juice and crystalized ginger. It was very good.

7. Fancy table decor or plain? For years it had to be pretty casual owing to the large number of people we were feeding (between 20-30 most years). In recent years, when we've had a small enough number so we can all fit around one table, I've had fun dressing up my table even though I don't own anything one would call fancy. I always seem to forget until the last minute that I can set a prettier table for Thanksgivings now. (For example, it's only by God's grace that I had enough Thanksgiving napkins on hand! We had 7 people here and I had 8 napkins -- used one for the roll basket.) I have to mix and match plates, glassware,silverware, because I don't have that much of anything that matches. But it came out pretty anyway.