There are 12 days until Thanksgiving!!!It's time to start gathering the recipes & thinking about strategy! I will be buying a 15 to 18 pound frozen turkey in the next few days...they are currently 79 cents a pound at the local grocery store, I'm hoping it will drop down another 10 to 2o cents a pound when the sale papers come out tomorrow. Once I buy the turkey it will sit in the bottom of my fridge until Thanksgiving morning. I know from past experience that it takes about a week for a turkey that size to actually defrost in the refrigerator. Based on that, I'll probably buy it this Wednesday. I've already bought a 10 lb spiral sliced ham. I've been making lists of what I've already got & what I still need to buy. Most of what I still need is produce, so I will buy that on the Tuesday before.
Here's a run down of my plan
Roast turkey--put it in the roaster by 9 am Thanksgiving morning, it should be done about 1 1/2 hrs before dinner. I don't cook my stuffing inside the turkey. Put turkey on a serving platter & let it cool to make carving easier.
Honey glazed ham--put it in the oven for one hour, two hours before dinner. Keep it in the baking pan covered with foil until just before dinner. Reheat in the microwave if needed just before putting it on the serving platter....don't forget to remove the foil before putting it in the microwave.
white bread stuffing--have the kids rip up 4 loaves of day old bread Wednesday morning. Leave out overnight to get completely stale. Thanksgiving morning, melt 1/2 cup butter in frying pan, saute 1 diced onion & 2 diced stalks of celery, plus the diced core of the celery until limp & slightly golden, add spices, eggs & milk put into baking pans & cover with foil. Cooks for about an hour at 400....anytime during the day. Remove foil & brown in oven for about 20 minutes sometime in the two hrs before dinner. Warm up in the microwave just before serving if it gets too cool.
cornbread stuffing--bake batch of cornbread on Wednesday, cube & allow to sit out to get stale, prepare stuffing at least 2 hrs before dinner, substitute turkey broth for chicken broth, substitute poultry seasoning for thyme, bake in a baking pan as time allows. Reheat in microwave just before serving.
mashed potatoes--get Hubby to peel 10 lbs of potatoes on Wednesday night. Immerse them in water in a big pan or bowl & refrigerate until about 2 hrs before dinner. Cook & prepare, store in crockpot on low to keep them warm through out dinner.
giblet gravy--remove the giblets from the turkey before it goes in the roaster. Boil them including the neck for about an hr, then let cool. Chop up the meat, only use a small portion of the liver, it can be very bitter, feed the extra liver to the dog or cats. Remove as much meat as possible from neck & discard bones, put the chopped meat back into the broth & set aside until the turkey is taken out of the roaster. Add the broth from the roaster, then bring to boiling & thicken with a flour & water paste.
baked sweet potatoes--wrap about 6 thoroughly washed sweet potatoes in foil. Bake in oven at 400 for 1 1/2 hrs early in the day....leave them wrapped & reheat in oven for about 20 minutes just before dinner. Serve with butter, marshmallows & cinnamon
candied sweet potatoes w/marshmallows--prepare in a baking dish a couple hrs before dinner, reheat in microwave just before serving
sweet & sour green beans--in the morning, cook 4 cans french cut green beans in the juice from the cans, add 1/2 lb crumbled cooked bacon, add 1 T bacon grease, 2T sugar & 2 T vinegar....increase sugar or vinegar to taste to create sweet & sour flavor. Refrigerate in serving dish until just before dinner, reheat in microwave.
canned cranberry sauce--refrigerate cans until just before dinner, slice onto a refrigerated plate to serve.
homemade whole cranberry sauce....follow recipe & prepare on Wednesday. Refrigerate until just before dinner.
spiced peaches...on Wednesday, put 2 cans of peaches in heavy syrup into large bowl with lid. Insert cloves randomly into peach pieces, sprinkle with cinnamon. cover & refrigerate until just before dinner
veggie tray...daughter in law is bringing
pickle & olive tray...my mother is bringing
homemade bread rolls...make dough Thursday morning, allow to rise 2X, set aside until about an hour before dinner, then make into rolls & let rise again. put in oven at 400 for 20 minutes just before dinner, when the bread is done it is time for dinner!!!
2 homemade deep dish apple pies...make on Wednesday, store uncovered in a cool place until time for dessert
2 homemade pumpkin pies...make according to Libby directions on Wednesday. Use two regular pie pans. Store in cool place covered with plastic wrap until time for dessert
cherry pie...make on Wednesday in a deep dish pan. Uses two cans of pie filling. Store in cool place covered with plastic wrap
peach pie...make on Wednesday. Use 3 lbs frozen peaches in a deep dish pie pan. Store uncovered in a cool place.
It may seem like a lot of work, but the enjoyment my family & I get from having this special meal together makes it well worth the effort.