Skip to comments.The return of the dreaded 11 Commandments of a THANKSGIVING DINNER
Posted on 11/17/2005 9:19:47 AM PST by carlo3b
To-Do's, to make your Holiday brighter..
1) Make a list and check it twice.. Plan your menu in advance, and for heaven sakes write it down.. Pull out the recipes and jot down the ingredients and check to see if you have everything on hand to complete the meal without having to run to the store at the last minute.. Be sure to check the expiration date on spices and milks and dated stuff..
There isn't a good time on the day of a big dinner to run to any store, and the Big guy is usually busy doing Big Guy stuff, with the remote.. sigh.. Make the list of all needed items such as utensils dishes napkins.. etc. For example, next to the specific food, put the dish in which it will be served. Dont forget decorations, candles, linen, anything you can think of. Something to keep in mind, but only as a guide, Who is on What special Diet?
2) Buy only what you really need.. such as the right size of a Turkey, Ham, Roast, Lasagna, Goose, Peacock. The bigger is not always the better. Take into account everything that is being served, including anything that is coming from your invited guests, before considering what size main dish, or dishes you are thinking of purchasing.
There is some consideration that should be given to leftovers in your calculations for sure, but think about refrigerator space in the pre preparation and leftovers. With Turkey, the rule of thumb for portions is, 1 pound per person, and 1 cup of dressing per. If eight people are coming to dinner, a 10 to 12-pound bird will do just fine and still provide leftovers.
If you do as we do in our family, you are going to serve 2-3 popular entrees, (Turkey, Ham, Lasagna) you had better remember the last time you had to throw good food away because it was too much to freeze and not everyone wanted all those leftovers to take with them when they left. Consider buying just a breast of turkey instead of the whole turkey. If your family doesn't like dark meat, why waste it? A breast will be faster and easier to cook and carve, and you can still make all of the trimmings. You've not going to pay any attention to me on this are you? OK go buy BIG BIRD.. whatever..:)
3) Think of the BIG PICTURE when planning what, and how many side dishes you intend to make. I understand that everyone has their own favorite specialty that you make, but do you have to make them all on the same day? If you are going to have leftovers, DUH, plan on making some of those favorites on a subsequent dinner with one of the special leftover recipes that you can prepare. Having a new side dish will make that easier meal so much more special with a favored specialty..
4) Don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring along something for the meal. Perhaps their favorite side dish or dessert. Specialty breads and rolls come to mind. Those are some of the hardest things to do at the last minute because of the oven space, and don't be shy about suggesting to provide the recipe for a great accompanying bread that complements your planned dinner.. Cornbread comes to mind, or homemade Tiramisu. This is a really great idea for more than the obvious reason, it provides the family or friend with being part of the meal that they can share, and further answers that age old question (if anyone asks it any more) what should I bring to the party.
5) What to drink has to be brought up early in the planning. We usually serve something, a) before dinner, b) with dinner, c) and for sure after dinner, d) and sometimes after, after dinner.. The KISS system is a great idea when planning this stage of the party. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID, is a great gage on what exactly to plan ahead. I mentioned STAGE not by accident. Too much alcohol can and does screw up an otherwise great party. This is a party for everyone, and keeping it light is your responsibility, handle it with forethought.
Special holiday beverages are usually less about booze, and more about celebrating, so get and keep the party fun.. Egg nog, Holiday Wassil, homemade Kahlua ..etc, works wonders and all can be made well in advance. Also with this, the age of specialty Coffees, and Teas, try your hand at a expresso machine, and let them do their own thing.. It will add to the festivities and fun.. BTW, beer is for pizza, wine is for dinning.. :)
6) Easy on the hors doeuvres, and canapés. You will be doing everyone a favor. Too much food before dinner will mess up a perfectly great meal, and pi$$ you off big time if everyone doesn't eat. Kids and old folks come to mind. Think again about the Refrigerator, and the oven when planning. Some items that are lite, and need not take up a lot of cooling space, a flower decorated platter, that you can quickly add raw vegetables with a simple dip and perhaps some mixed nuts or olives, even thin chips.
7) Decorating the house, yard, and most important, your table!
Order flowers early. This is where the internet comes in really handy for this chore, you'll save a bundle and make everything look like a million bucks. Take advantage of the early bird specials by ordering from a grower, or wholesale. The internet is full of them, with great prices, check those POP UP's before you delete them without reading.. LOLOL. Simplify decorations too. An attractive floral arrangement for your table, with added green fern and a few loose flowers for platters. How about a simple window decor and something just outside the front door, may be all you need.
8) Frozen items are not a sin.., well, ok but not a mortal sin! I'm thinking about the great specialty breads and rolls, yikes, even some desserts.. gulp! Its ok to use some convenience items, after all, we accept canned and frozen vegetables, you may not think about additional items today. There are a few really select items that much too good not to consider today, especially when planning a huge party. Pre trimmed vegetables, Shrimp, crab, lobster are great frozen and really speed up the meal service. Canned chicken, beef, vegetables, or even Turkey stock is perfectly acceptable for gravy or as the base for a soup.
9) Plan to pre make as much as possible, and plan you meal around that fact. Be sure that you think about the day, long before it happens. Read the recipes closely not just for the ingredients but for timing. Prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. Start as far out from the actual day of the party as possible. Think about serving times, then work back.
Think about everything else that will be happening at the same time, including when your family and friends will be arriving. Plan to do those recipes that can be done two, three, even four days ahead? What can be the day before? The morning of? Most, if not all, side dishes can be done ahead, then Reheat. Some dishes actually improve in flavor if made in advance. Leave as little as possible to the last minute. Not everything can be put into one microwave, and ovens most ovens have only one compartment so THINK IN ADVANCE... :)
10) Make this and every holiday a dream, not a nightmare.. Plan the day as a special moment that you and your loved ones will remember as that special memory. Make this a day that everyone helps with the fun parts of the preparation and service. Use your best assets in making this party a total success. Hubby and Kids will love it if you have a pre planned easy tasks that are well within there capabilities. Give them a typed timetable and pre assigned fun tasks, like setting the table.. set one place setting the night before and point to it .. LOL. Have dad carve the main courses, and make the beverages, getting everything ready, long before the Football games kick-off. Don't be afraid, just be sure that you leave as little to the imagination as possible when assigning to the family.. Don't be at all ashamed to ask for help, but know in advance what it is your are going to be asking for.. remember that this is your home and only you know where everything is hidden, and where it is put away.. DUH!
11) The best for last.. HIRE A MAID, it is not as expensive as you think, less than $100.00, can make this the best party you ever had. How about to just to clean up, or even serve and clean up, or even cook, serve and clean up, how about a massage...
Bless your heart, have some fun.. Chef Carlo
Old Fashion New England Roasted Turkey Orange-Maple Marinated
This wonderful, old northeastern method of marinating the turkey overnight in maple-orange produces a remarkably moist and flavorful bird. Combine the reserved marinade with the pan drippings and reduce to a scrumptious tangy gravy.
1) Prepare marinade: In a large bowl, combine orange juice, broth, maple syrup, and bourbon.
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Turkey:.. One 12-pound fresh or frozen whole turkey, thawed
3 oranges, peeled and quartered
- 3 small bay leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
- Citrus garnish (such as oranges, orange wedges, and kumquats; optional)
- Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
2) Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; pat dry.
3) Place turkey in a 2 gallon heavy-duty plastic food storage bag. Carefully pour in marinade. Seal; place in large roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare Turkey: Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
4) Remove turkey from plastic bag and reserve marinade. Insert orange quarters and bay leaves into cavity. Sprinkle salt in cavity. Skewer neck skin to back or tuck wing tips under shoulder joints, holding skin in place. Tie drumstick ends together with string. Place turkey on a wire rack set in a large roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into thigh, making sure it doesn't rest on the bone.
5) Roast turkey until thermometer registers 180 degrees F -- about 3 hours. (Cover turkey loosely with foil if it gets too brown before reaching required temperature.)
6) Remove turkey from oven; transfer to serving platter. Remove and discard oranges and bay leaves.
Let turkey stand at least 20 minutes before carving.
7) Pour reserved marinade into a 2 quart saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Skim and discard any foam from mixture with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 3 1/2 cups -- about 15 minutes.
8) When turkey has been transferred to platter, skim off all but 1/4 cup fat from drippings in roasting pan; stir in the flour until well mixed. Gradually stir in the reduced marinade and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Presenting the masterepiece.
Garnish turkey with whole oranges, orange wedges, bay leaves, and fresh thyme, if desired, and serve with gravy.
Carving the Turkey:
9) Holding a drumstick securely with one hand, use a carving knife to cut through the skin between the thigh and body of the turkey. Gently pull out and back on drumstick, cutting through remaining meat and skin; disjoint and remove drumstick. Repeat with other drumstick. Slice downward along breastbone and rib cage to remove meat on one half of the turkey breast. Cut through turkey, removing the wing. Repeat process, removing remaining breast meat and wing.
10) Place two turkey breast halves on cutting board. Holding breast steady with carving fork, cut slices of breast meat against grain. Transfer slices, wings, and drumsticks to serving platter.
Recipe from; Holidays in The House of Carlo
Another Turkey Stuffing a la Crockpot
When preparing a specialty Turkey as in a fancy marinated, it helps to fix your dressing apart from the bird, and healthier as well.
Preparing your dressing in a crockpot allows you to beat the rush on a holiday morning. Making the stuffing in the slow cooker is one less thing to worry about and it takes up less of that valuable oven space.
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup parsley sprigs
1 lb fresh button mushrooms, sliced, or 2 x 8 ounce cans mushrooms
- 12 cups bread cubes, day old dried
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 1/2 cup chicken or turkey broth
- 2 eggs, well beaten
1) Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onion, celery, parsley, and mushrooms.
2) Pour over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl.
3) Add all seasonings and toss well. Pour in enough broth to moisten. Add eggs and mix well.
4) Pack lightly into slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low and cook for 6-8 hours.
Recipe from, Soup, Sex, and the Single Man
Holiday Golden Apples and Yams
"This was so delicious. The three flavors of apples, raisins, and yams combine perfectly and the syrup added just enough sweetness."
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2 large or 3 medium yams or sweet potatoes
- 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced crosswise into rings
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves or apple pie spice mix
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup Raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup miniature marshmallows (Optional)
1) Bake yams 50 minutes or until soft but still hold their shape. Can also be done in the microwave. Let yams cool enough to handle.
2) Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice yams crosswise.
3) In 1 1/2 quart baking dish, alternate apple rings, and yam slices, overlapping edges slightly.
4) In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and spice; stir in orange juice and raisins, and mix well.
5) Heat orange juice mixture over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Pour over apples and yams. Sprinkle with nuts and bake for 10 minutes, add the marshmallows* and bake for additional 10 minutes or until apples and yams are tender.
* (Optional) You may top with miniature marshmallows, it encourages the kids to taste this. Once they do, it becomes their favorite.
Recipe from, Chef Carlo's, "Chef Carlo Cooks with Kids"
Baked Apple Dumplings Syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup red hots
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1) Mix syrup ingredients together, except butter.
2) Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and set aside.
3) Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening. Add the milk all at once. Stir just until moistened.
4) Form into a ball. Roll out into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 6-inch squares.
5) Mix apples with the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place 1/6 of the apples on center of each square. Moisten edges of dough and fold corners to center top and pinch edges together. Place in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
6) Pour the syrup over the dumplings. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.
Recipe from, The one and only; The Clinton Legacy Cookbook
Old Fashioned Home baked Country Ham
1) Scrub country ham with stiff brush.
- 1 Country Ham, 15-20 pounds
- 2 Cups Dark Sorghum Molasses
- 1 Cup Vinegar (Apple Cider)
2) Put ham in large pot, or if you are lucky enough to have one, place in a lard stand (large metal container that held lard, an old country shortening used long ago; usually holding 25 pounds) and cover with cold water.
3) Add 1 cup molasses and vinegar.
Allow to soak overnight.
4) Next day, remove ham from water, rinse well and cover with fresh water and the remaining 1 cup of molasses. Cover, place over high heat. Allow to come to a rolling boil and boil for 30 minutes. Remove lard stand from heat. Do Not remove lid!
5) Cover pot or lard stand with newspapers and blankets and allow to stand overnight.
Remove from water. You can make a glaze from brown sugar, fruit juice and plain flour.
Coat ham and bake (probably at 350; the recipe doesn't specify) till brown.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes 1. Preheat your oven to 350 degree.
2. Cut the top off one of your garlic heads, to expose the individual cloves. Place on the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzled olive oil over the garlic head.
3. Wrap foil to close securely and bake for 50 minutes. Set aside.
4. Boil red bliss potatoes with skins on. Test with fork for doneness, and drain potatoes.
5. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients. Serve with Pork roast.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degree.
2. Blend minced garlic, parsley, oregano and thyme.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut holes in the roast, approximately 1 inch deep, every couple of inches in the entire roast.
4. Fill these "pockets" with your garlic mixture.
5. Place in a roasting pan, with about 1/2 inch of water and season with salt and pepper.
6. Cook for 10 minutes at 425 degree and then lower the oven to 350 degree to cook for an additional 40 minutes. Baste your roast about every 15 minutes.
7. When done, remove roast from pan and let sit about 10 minutes before carving. You can make a gravy using the drippings from the roasting pan.
Thats it, my family of 14 is coming to your house for THANKSGIVING...LOL
I must say as the years go on I get better and better at this special holiday feast. Your tips are great.
In prior years to save time I served gasp, instant mashed potatoes...I always hated doing that but everything else was fresh and there just was not a half hour or more left to get the potatoes ready. Well this year I asked one of my guests to bring them since she makes them from scratch. She was happy about that and had no idea I had been making fake mashed all these years LOL.
I also use the burner on the grill to make corn on the cob and the grilling surface on warm to keep some items hot. I am a stickler about the entire meal coming out hot.
Before my kids get too old (they are now 9 and 13) I am going to take a Thankgiving break to take them to the parade in NYC, maybe next year, I always say. We have 2 elders in declining health in our group and it's much more important to spend the day with them.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours CARLO : )
Thanks. I have the bartending duties this year and that includes selecting the wine for the wine drinkers. I think my problem is solves and I can just kick back and watch football!
I never have made stuffing with 2 eggs. What's the purpose of the eggs?
self-ping, BTTT & bookmark for delicious ideas
I agree with your nose test, but you must correct the amounts you measure when using the older dated spices.. Usually, we who use our noses think we have a prefect eye with the spoon .. :)
What about the 'rule' of white wine with white meat, etc.?
What is the purpose of 2 eggs?
I would think to maintain some moisture.
What say you Carlo so I can experiment : )
NOW THAT IS FUNNY.. Thanks for the laugh.. Happy Thanksgiving
BTW, add me to the ping list
Oh Boy. Now I know it's really Turkey Time.
I will leave this up so when my First Wife comes home from getting her nails painted she will get the spirit also...
That was beautiful! Thanks, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. ;)
I'm guessing to hold it all together, similar to meat loaf. But this is a new one for me
2 little things I am changing on my feast this year.
I bought cookie cutters in the shape of a maple leaf and turkey to use to cut out the shape in jellied cranberry sauce. Not to many eat the cranberry in my family and now they may since it looks so pretty. (oops I use jellied cranberry)
I am making "stuffing muffins." My stuffing will get its final bake in muffin pans and will come out in that shape. The muffin pan needs to be greased though for anyone who trys this.
What is "brine". This is the second reference to that this holiday. And,..do you cover the turkey with aluminum foil when you first put it in the oven?
How do you brine a turkey?
Love ya, man. :o)