Turkey Day Lifesavers

hornplenty.GIFWith the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching, I decided to offer a few tips for making your holiday meal easier, or at least more interesting.

If the family is coming over to your house, try putting on a pair of corduroy pants and a flannel L.L. Bean shirt. Fix your hair in a blond pageboy, hang some hedge clippings held together with string all over the mantle and buffets, drink about six cups of strong, black coffee and answer the door with a hot-glue gun in each hand. Tell your startled relatives that the organically grown, free-range turkey is roasting in the oven, the hot spiced cider is simmering in the kitchen, and could they please help you find the popsicle sticks to make the centerpiece in the shape of the Mayflower? Then, burst into tears, sobbing,” It’s no use — I’ll never be like Martha! I don’t even have potpourri ! I guarantee that once they calm you down and make dinner themselves, you’ll never be asked to host a family dinner again.

If, in spite of your best efforts, you are hosting the family dinner (like me), here are a few real suggestions for making the feast a good one:

  • taters.gifFor the best mashed potatoes, choose Russet potatoes for the most flavor. Use half-and-half instead of milk for a special holiday treat. Boil the potatoes only until fork -tender and drain them immediately. Then put them back on the heat, shaking the pot for a minute or so to dry out the excess water ; it will make the potatoes fluffier.
  • A great sweet potato casserole can be made by placing the cooked potatoes in a food processor , then slowly adding heavy cream and a and a little orange juice until they are the desired consistency. Flavor- them to taste with cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup, and nutmeg. Dot the top with butter and bake at 350 degrees until warm. You can add coconut and raisins to the mixture for an even tastier casserole.
  • If you’re having a crowd over for dinner, instead of one huge turkey, roast two smaller birds. You’ll have twice the drum sticks for the kids, and the cooking time will be reduced.
  • You can dress up instant stuffing by adding chopped celery, onions and mushrooms. Leave out some of the water when making the stuffing to allow for the water in the veggies. Chopped pecans or walnuts also make a tasty addition to stuffing. If you make your own stuffing, try using long grain and wild rice as an alternative to the traditional cornbread stuffing.
  • Try a non-traditional Thanksgiving — nothing says you can’t have roast beef, country ham (or tacos, for that matter) if you want to. The sky’s the limit. How about a Louisiana Thanksgiving with shrimp etouffee and chicken gumbo? Add a few Turbo Dog beers to wash it down and you’ve got yourself a party!

1 Comment so far »

  1. Father Steve Cannon English said

    October 27 2008 @ 2:20 pm

    Since everyone comes to my house for the Holidays, I have found it easier to smoke my turkey (Yes, it’s hard to find papers big enouth). I do this in my gas grill. This leaves my oven free for the important things like cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes and burn and serve rolls.


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