Thanksgiving Dinner – Done, & Nicely!

Thanksgiving day is drawing to a close here. Dinner is done, the “leftovers” in the ‘fridge for tomorrow (and late night snacks too ;-)

All is good in the Smith Home.

Some notes:

Unlike past years, where I’d make 3 to 5 sides, and often in 2 or 3 variations (Vegan, Wheat Free, Corn Free, etc.); this time was much simpler. No vegans at the table (they stayed in California or moved to Minneapolis). The wheat allergy friend stayed in California. So it goes.

Sides were limited to:

Home made mashed potatoes – boiled spuds, splash of milk, butter to excess, salt & white pepper.

Steamed Broccoli – spousal favorite with melted butter.

Stuffing – Instead of fully from scratch, I used Pepperidge Farms Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing as the base (usually I use my own dried or toasted bread). To this was added one beaten egg, 2 cups of water, 1 stick of melted butter, about a table spoon of chicken bouillon, one red onion, two carrots made into wafers with a “peeler”, 1 cup of celery bits, a sprinkle of “poultry seasoning” heavy on sage. Made enough for about a 16 pound bird, but we had a 9 pounder, so the rest is in the fridge.

Fruit Garnish / sweet palate cleaner: 4 big seedless grapes, 1/2 tangerine in slices ( I forgot to get cranberry sauce, but this was a nice subsitute).

Red Lobster cheesy biscuits. From a box of mix, you add 1/4 cup of cheese shreds with water and mix, then when cooked put their season packet in 1/2 cup of butter and pour that over. Very Nice!

The Bird

For some reason beyond my ken, last week a Publix a ways away from me had house brand turkeys (frozen) in a bin at 49 ¢ / pound. I got a 9 pound bird for just under $5 all up! Supposedly there was a turkey shortage but not that I could tell. Yesterday, the local more upscale neighborhood Publix only had fresh birds set out, and they were Organic or Butterball or similar Name Brands. From about $1.40 / lb up to over $3 / pound (organic) with a bird size nearer 14 to 20+ pounds (and prices like $85 for one bird!).

Well, our bird was Just Dandy. I’ll likely go looking for a post Thanksgiving Sale Bird of similar prices sometime this weekend (as often happens after The Day Is Done). One for the Freezer for later when we are over our Turkey Coma ;-)

So about 9 AM I made the stuffing. Stuffed the bird and into the oven about 10:30. Cooked for 3 hours at 325 F in a covered roaster. Just YUM! UPDATE: It was “larded” with some butter cubes under the skin, and dusted with Poultry Seasoning too.

Potatoes started to simmer about 40 minutes before show time. Broccoli in the steamer started with 8 minutes to go. Biscuits into the oven after the turkey was out (20+ minutes “resting” in the roaster) with about 15 minutes to show time. Plating and fruit dish done at 1 minute to show time.

Both of us happy, stuffed just a little bit, and a good day all around.

Now curled up with a nice Red (Australian. “19 Crimes” Red Blend. While I’ve not been posting Australian Fridays, I have kept up the Lamb & Wine dinners ;-)

Hope that “you and yours” all had a similarly good day.

I’ll return to the Global Gloom & Doom and my observations on it “some other day”. A fella can only take so much of that stuff, so for today I’m just not doing it.

Well, with that, the wine glass is complaining that it hasn’t had a refill, AND we’ve got 1/2 sized fruit pies (blueberry & apple) along with a full sized pumpkin pie (with real whipped cream) calling my name. Yes, the night is young even if the day isn’t ;-)


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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in cooking, Food, Human Interest. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Thanksgiving Dinner – Done, & Nicely!

  1. John Hultquist says:

    Wednesday, I went to a community dinner (minorly supported by me, and the lead a friend). The food was a slice of turkey breast, simple green beans, mashed potatoes, a simple stuffing, and a big fluffy white roll. A bit of instant gravy was on the instant potatoes. Although not exciting, it was filling. I went early and left about the time 200 people were seated.
    Today I went to a gathering of a large family — not mine. There was turkey and ham and just about anything else one might think of. Knowing I can never think of anything to take that won’t be there, I saw a sale for big red table grapes for 99¢/lb.
    I rinsed and cut into clumps and placed them on paper towels in a cardboard box.
    I was greeted at the door by one of the family and he and I decided to put them on the table just as I had handed them to him. He said that in a few minutes one of the ladies would see them and bring a nice platter or something so as to better present them. In under 3 minutes that happened.
    All this remined me of family Thanksgivings my mother hosted in the 1960s.
    Good health (Irish) Slàinte Mhaith,

  2. beththeserf says:

    Mmm … E.M. A delicious Thanksgiving Dinner. Best Wishes.

  3. jim2 says:

    My mom and we use Cornbread + regular bread in the dressing.

  4. cdquarles says:

    Cornbread stuffing is a Southern Tradition! Yum, grandma made stuffing :)

  5. D. J. Hawkins says:

    Do you brine your bird? We started doing this several years ago and have never had a “dry” bird since.

    More recently, we have taken to spatchcocking the bird for about a 60% reduction in cooking time. Negates the stuffing-in-the-bird experience, but nobody hates the Stove Top brand, so it’s all good.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jim2 & CDQuarles:

    Ah, fond memories of corn bread dressing…. Sadly, I can’t have it anymore due to the allergy reaction to corn. I can make a good one, though :-}

    @D.J. Hawkins:

    Nope. I’ve never gotten into the whole brining thing. Someday I will, as I love salt…

    But I get a nicely moist bird with just “larding & barding” with butter then roasting in a covered roasting pan.

    “spatchcocking” – Golly the things English has a word for… So cutting up the bird into chunks and splaying it out to roast…

    Normally we just cook Turkey Parts as there are just the 2 of us. The only reason to do a whole bird is the presentation of a whole bird. Maybe if a hoard of folks came to visit it would matter… But for now, it’s a whole roasted bird for the aesthetic effect; or it is just a part of the bird we like most roasted solo.

    As I’ve purchased a 50 lb or so bag of salt (for prepping reasons) I’ll use a bunch of it for some salting and brining exercises as I develop skill in those area (need to use it up somehow some day ;-) but not for a while.

  7. Power Grab says:

    My sibling in Texas bought me a plane ticket to fly me down to their town for Thanksgiving with 30 or so of their closest friends…at their child’s home. (Is that confusing enough?) That was a first.

    Being in Texas, and having lots of Hispanic influence, there was a large variety of food. But they had no gravy(!)

    One of the tables held the gluten-free dishes for the friend who eats that way.

    Since earlier in November there was talk of there being no diesel fuel (or turkeys), I bought a frozen turkey a couple of weeks early. It was a bit larger than 13 pounds. It’s still in my freezer. I was concerned that the plane trip might not actually happen because of the reports friends and relatives have made that their recent plane trips (since CV) were postponed or a miserable shambles.

    I’m planning to have a more traditional turkey dinner this weekend.

    I keep trying to replicate my mom’s and grandmother’s cornbread dressing. I’m not sure they actually had a recipe because they collaborated on it every year. IIRC, Mom made 2 batches of cornbread the night before and left it crumbled in a big metal bowl, allowing it to dry out overnight. She also made some hard-boiled eggs. She boiled the giblets in a separate pan. Some of the giblets went into the dressing, and some went into the gravy.

    We didn’t stuff the bird. We baked the dressing in one or more baking dishes.

    Grandmother gave me her directions for baking the turkey overnight. It worked a treat! I don’t know where that actual recipe is, but I have a substitute that I’ve used since then. It’s amazing how easy and yummy a big turkey can be when baked overnight!

    Mom used to use an old-fashioned meat grinder to grind up the raw cranberries and oranges into a relish. I think she put pecans in it, too. I don’t know what spices or other ingredients it had. I don’t have her recipe, but it not hard to find recipes for that. A friend next door to my sibling uses a blender to make her cranberries relish, but it’s not as chunky as the kind Mom used to make. I miss the chunks. When I was a kid, I thought it was too tangy, but now I appreciate it.

    I plan to make traditional gravy, too, this time. I missed it in Texas. I often keep a jar or two (or packet) of gravy around in case mine doesn’t turn out quite right, but I prefer traditional gravy made from the turkey drippings. Fingers crossed that I get it right this time!

    My young’un stayed home with our house bunny. Fortunately, one of her best friends is a pretty good cook and made them a baked chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, and a pumpkin pie. I got a picture of the spread!

    I need to finalize my plans for the weekend meal.

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