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Waitin' On the Turkey

November 22, 2006

Well, I have a little time before the turkey comes out of the oven, so thought I'd give a little update.

"What?" you say, "It's only Wednesday!" Well, that's the way we do it around here. We're pretty much into the whole turkey dinner thing for the leftovers (mmm... samiches and cold sweet potatoes...), so for years now we've cooked the turkey the day before Thanksgiving Day.

So, the turkey's in the oven, the fruit salad and sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies are done. The crunchy things - celery, carrots and radishes - are all cleaned and cut up. The eggs have been boiled, but not yet deviled. Celery and onion cut for the dressing, green bean casserole mixed and waiting for the oven after the turkey comes out.

Yet to be done is the dressing (making Stuffin Muffins, but using my dressing recipe, just Rachel's method), deviling the eggs and slicing the dill pickles. I have a couple of hours, so I'm not worried.

Maybe this year I won't forget to put the rolls into the oven. No guarantees. I at least remembered to take out another stick of butter so it's soft and spreadable.

Mom's taking her pre-turkey nap. Mr. W. went into town and came home with triple lattes for himself and me. Most of the prep dishes are loaded into the dishwasher. It seems like hours since I've sat down. Oh, wait. It HAS been hours since I've sat down!

Though I am about as non-Emeril as one gets, I actually do a decent holiday meal. Having said that, I'll share my "recipes" with you, as if you actually wanted them.

First, though, I'll share one of my Thanksgiving cooking stories (again, as if you actually wanted them).

A couple of years ago, I made the absolute best, most outstanding, unbelievably incredible dressing. I know this, because Mom and Mr. W. waxed rhapsodic (and at length) about how good it was. The more they gushed, the more embarrassed I became. Now, I'm not one to turn down accolades, but finally I could take it no longer. I had to fess up! I stood in the middle of the kitchen, a bit red-faced, and announced I was going to share the secret of my super-stuffing. I opened up the cupboard under the sink, reached into the trash can, and pulled out two boxes of WalMart Stuffing Mix. You know, the "fake" Stove Top stuffing? All I'd done is add onion, celery (and probably garlic, knowing me) to the box mix.

I sure wish that I could take credit for the incredible dressing, but alas, it was not to be. Fortunately, everyone got a good laugh from it, and now each year we're sure to make a trip to Wally World to get boxed stuffing mix before the holidays.

Okay. The recipes.
My Famous Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe
  • 2 boxes of Wal-Mart ("Great Value" brand) chicken stuffing mix

  • 1/2 - 1 onion, chopped

  • the limp celery from the veggie drawer, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • granulated garlic

  • 1-1 1/2 T. butter

Saute the celery and onion in the butter until celery is kinda soft. Fix stuffing mix as directed on the box, adding in the celery and onion, plus a generous shakey-skakey-shakey of garlic. Hide empty mix boxes. Say thank you a lot.

No Sugar-Coma Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 large can sweet potatoes

  • 1 or 1 1/2 wrinkly apples from the drawer

  • 1/2 to 1 cup real (raw) cranberries

  • chopped pecans

Drain the liquid of the sweet potatoes into a saucepan. Add chopped apples (skins on) and cranberries. Don't add the potatoes. Cover and cook the fruit in the liquid until the apples are soft and the cranberries are popped. Add the potatoes, heat through. Serve* with pecans sprinkled on top.
*Actually, at this point, you can put the stuff in the refrigerator (when you have room, at least) and reheat it while the turkey's resting. Don't forget the pecans before it goes to the table.
"I'm Not a Fan of Ginger" Pumpkin Pies
  • 1 large can (29 oz) pumpkin. NOT the pre-spiced stuff, just plain old pumpkin.

  • 1 T. cinnamon

  • 1/2 or 1 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

  • 1/8 (or less) tsp nutmeg - this one's optional

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/4 cup Splenda

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 cans (12 oz each) canned (evaporated) milk

  • 1 package of pie crusts, the kind that are premade and rolled up, at room temperature. Pillsbury makes them, they're in the grocery store over by the canned biscuits. Store brand is (so far) just as good as name-brand.

Move an oven rack to the top third of the oven and THEN turn on the oven to preheat to 425 (that one gets me every time).

Get a BIG bowl. Whisk the pumpkin together with the dry ingredients. Add the eggs & whisk. I like whisking. Add the sugar and whisk. Shake up your cans of milk (please don't question, just do it), then add ONE to the pumpkin mixture and whisk.

Stop and put the pie crusts into two 9" regular or deep dish pie pans. You can use 8" pans, but you'll have leftover filling that you'll have to put in a really small buttered casserole dish and then you'll have to listen to the dishwasher complain about having to wash a crusty casserole dish.

Put the big bowl of pumpkin goo and the pie pans close to the oven. Add the last can of milk (whisk!) and find a coffee mug. Put the bowl CLOSE to the pie pans and use the mug to scoop the goo into the pie pans.

Make everybody leave the kitchen. Open the oven, pull the rack out as far as you can without tipping it, then put the pies into the oven. Don't sneeze. Don't get the giggles. Don't accidentally hit your finger on the rack or the side of the oven because you'll involuntary jerk away. (um... don't ask me how I know these things, but be assured that slopped/spilled pumpkin goo will instantly cook onto the door of the oven and you'll be saying swear words that you didn't even realize you knew.) Gently slide the rack back into the oven, shut the door and heave a sigh of relief.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350. Set the timer for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, do the knife in the pie thing to see if it's done (comes out without goo on it). You might need to add on another 5 or 10 minutes to be goo-free.

Serve cold with massive amounts of Cool Whip (or a reasonable facsimile).

Coming up, the recipe for Convection-Cooked Turkey (because I can never find one when I need it). Gotta take a break so that Mr. W. can use the puter!

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permalink 1 Comments:
At 12/18/2006 10:03 PM, Anonymous Carol in WI Babbled Back:  

I love your essays about your pumpkin pie and convection turkey. We have a new oven and just may have to try out doing a convection turkey.

Your blogs are so much fun as you make it sound just like we were sitting in the kitchen talking together.

Carol

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