Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aunt Sue's Sweet Potatoes

This is the cheaters way, but it’s awesome and quick.

2 large cans of Yams
1 cup margarine
½ cup brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp salt
½ c to ¾ cup cream
Small bag of mini marshmallows

Boil yams in their juice until hot. Remove and drain. Add margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix with a hand mixer adding the cream a little at a time until smooth. Taste and if need be add more brown sugar. Pour into a baking dish and set aside, even refrigerate if you’re not serving within the hour, but before baking bring back up to room temp.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Add marshmallows to cover and broil for 1-2 minutes. Watch very carefully and make this the last thing you’re baking before serving. The marshmallows will burn very easily.

Mom's Turkey Stuffing

1 cup Margarine
2 cups diced celery
1 ½ cups chopped onions
¼ cup minced parsley
2 tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp pepper
3 eggs slightly beaten
1 large can chicken broth
2 bags of cubed bagged stuffing

In a very large sauce pot melt the butter and add the onion and celery. Saute over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add parsley, poultry seasoning and pepper. Mix well and take off the heat. Add the first bag of stuffing into the onion mixture and mix well. Add half of the second bag and continue to mix but this time add the 3 eggs and stir well. Stir in the broth a little at a time until it is absorbed into the bread cubes. You may not use all of the cubes or the broth, but add in more cubes if needed or more broth if needed.

When this is completely cooled down you can stuff your turkey. Do not add hot stuffing into the cavity of your turkey. Do not over stuff the cavity either. Put all remaining stuffing into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

The Big Day!

The night before Thanksgiving I take everything out of the cabinets that I will need for the next day. Go back and grab your shopping list and take things out that are on your list. Group them by the dish you’re going to make. I also make any pies I am planning on serving on Wednesday. My pumpkin cream cheese pie needs to chill so I make it now.
I also do all of my chopping now and place things in zip lock bags. I chop my onions, celery, and parsley. Do not peel your potatoes until Thursday. Put the can(s) of cranberry sauce in the refrigerator at this point.

Thursday morning
Keep your menu and shopping list handy then you won’t forget anything.
First thing is to make the STUFFING (click to see recipe) this needs to cool before you can stuff your turkey.
Take your turkey out of the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrapping and remove the pouch that will be in the cavity. Also check the space where the neck was to make sure that there is nothing in there too. Rinse the turkey inside and out. Salt the inside of the turkey and place in your roasting pan. Add the neck to that pan. In a sauce pot place all ingredients that you found inside the turkey cavity or neck area and set aside for now.
Set your oven to 350 and now stuff your turkey. Fill the cavity but do not pack too tightly. Rub margarine all over the outside of you turkey and sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Tent the turkey with foil making sure to cover the wings and drum sticks so they don’t burn. You will take this foil off about 1 ½ hours before your turkey is cooked. Do the same process of margarine and poultry seasoning to the turkey breast if using one. I am fortunate to have 2 ovens so I place one in each oven. Cook the turkey according to the package directions.
Next I make the SWEET POTATOES (click to see recipe) set aside until ready to bake. Leave the marshmallows off until after baking and ready to broil. This will be the last dish to come out of your oven because of the marshmallows.
Now peel the potatoes for your MASHED POTATOES. (click to see recipe)

Planning for a Stress-free Thanksgiving Dinner

OK everyone! We promised a Thanksgiving post and we've heard from many of you that you're anxiously awaiting it! Let the preparing begin!

Stress free grocery shopping and preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

I over cook and over shop since my daughter Jen’s friends have made it a tradition to come over late at night on Thanksgiving or on Friday and eat the leftovers. So if I want some left overs for us I need to make a lot extra. We normally have 6-8 people over for Thanksgiving Dinner (depending on which displaced friends get brought to the house by my kids).
I start food shopping weeks in advance so by the time the week of Thanksgiving comes I only need to get my fresh ingredients.
First you need to come up with a menu of what you’re planning on cooking. Here is a list of what I plan on making for my family.

Onion dip and chips, cheese and crackers, chopped chicken livers (an Aunt Sue Favorite)

Butterball Turkey, extra turkey breast, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, corn gravy, biscuits.
Butterball breast (for the extra left overs)
Here is a copy of the actual list that I keep in my excel program on my computer.

Turkey 22-24lb
Butterball breast
pan with handles (throw-away kind)
4 margarine
1 celery
poultry seasoning
2 bags bread stuffing
2 large chicken broth cans
3 cans sweet potatoes
1 marsh mellows
2 cranberry sauce
brown sugar
chicken bullion
Gravy master
2 cream cheese
1qt half and half large
Lg coolwhip
2 graham cracker pie shell
2 pkgs vanilla instant pudding
1 16oz can pumpkin
2 apple cider
Mozzarella for potatoes
rye bread and whole wheat
parm cheese
2 packages butter crackers
dip and chips
artichoke dip
chopped chicken livers
apple pie
pumpkin cream pie
blueberry cream pie
limes (for drinks)

Each week I buy a few more things off of my list to keep in my cabinets so I am ready to go when I need to.
When the super markets start showing turkey and turkey breasts I shop for the best price per pound and put it in my own freezer. I have an extra refrigerator so on the Friday before Thanksgiving I take my turkey out of the freezer and put it in the pan I plan on using, this way I know it fits when I want to cook it. I usually don’t open that refrigerator again until the morning of Thanksgiving. If your turkey is as big as mine, your turkey will be thawed perfectly.
By the Sunday before Thanksgiving I have everything in my home except for my fresh produce and that I will pick up on either the Monday or Tuesday before. I also take the extra turkey breast out of the freezer on Tuesday and let it thaw in the refrigerator in a bowl.
On the Sunday before I start my dinner table by choosing which tablecloth I am going to put on the table and then I take out all of my dishes, utensils, serving dishes etc., and place them on the dining room table. Then I label all of my serving dishes with what I am planning on serving in that dish and then place the serving spoon I am planning on using in that dish. Then there will be no confusion on Thursday and I know I'm not a few serving spoons short!

Stay tuned for the next steps!