A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Do Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner



Just took this picture to show you how my table looks. I have some good china and some everyday dishes that are more expensive than the ones I am using. We're not fancy here, but I like to set a pretty table. I always turn to the dishes with the apples on them. They were in the cupboard when I came here Joe's dad's dishes...not enough for a crowd. They must have been really cheap when he bought them, because they still are. I love anything red...and if there's an apple involved I tend to love that too. I found the extra dishes at WalMart a few years ago. The newer ones have the apples cut in half, but are made by the same company. I can feed a crowd with these and they blend in with so many red things that I have.I use the lace table cloth, but cover it with a smaller red cotton one. That covering is where we place the food...and it saves my table cloth.We will be eight at our table this year. The other  half of the family will share a meal with other relatives. It's hard to get everyone together once the grand kids start getting married. They have other sides of their family to visit. I never grumble about this situation...I just accept it and think ahead to another holiday when they will be with us.



Years ago we had all the holidays at our house, so I became the most organized holiday hostess. I had a small kitchen and a big eating area to the side. Plenty of room for the whole family. I learned how to do things ahead...so my holiday could be enjoyed by me too. When it came to Thanksgiving...everyone expected turkey. Having a small oven, I had to come up with an idea to be able to cook the turkey and all the sides. I was listening to the radio and heard about this idea.Cook the turkey the day before and remove the meat from the carcass in big pieces. Put the unsliced turkey in an airtight container (like tupperware) and then the neatest trick of all. Take some wet iceberg lettuce leaves and place them over the turkey for moisture...then seal the container. The next day...remove the lettuce (it looks pretty limp by now) and spread the dressing in the bottom of a big shallow roasting pan and top with the turkey. Cover with foil and pop it in the 325 oven. Easy peasy....no messy pans to clean on turkey day and more room in the oven for sides.

I don't know about you, but my kitchen is always a magnet for family. They all hover around and lean on the counter and sometimes (to be honest) get in the way when you have a small kitchen. Cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving day used to really make me nervous...with all the company in the kitchen :) This new way was much more relaxing for me.

This year we are having ham. I bought a new electric, portable, oven that we will use for the first time. It's a Nesco oven and it gets so hot you can't even touch it. So, Joe is putting it in our attached garage, right off the kitchen, and he will take charge of the ham. I have never cooked in one of these...so it's kind of a chance we are taking.

I bought sweet potatoes early on when they were on sale and cooked them. Put them in freezer containers for this meal. They are thawing and I'll put them in my cast iron fry pan with splenda brown sugar, butter, cream, and seasonings tomorrow.

I roasted squash this summer...acorn and butternut. Then I took it out of the skin and mashed it with butter, seasoned salt, pepper and put it in casseroles in the freezer. It is thawing now and will go in the oven tomorrow.

I am going to put my green bean casserole together this morning except for the onions...

The whipped potatoes-- I will cook 5 lbs of yukon gold potatoes this morning. When they're done I add about 8 oz cream cheese, 1 stick of butter,( sour cream and milk to get the consistency I want) and seasonings. I mash them and put them in a greased 13X9 pan.

The relishes are put on the trays sealed with saran wrap. When I take them out tomorrow...a brushing of olive oil will moisten them and make them pretty.

I made cranberry conserve when the cranberries first came to the store. They are in their serving dish in the fridge.

Yesterday I made a couple of dips for snacking. I never make too many snacks...because I want people to be hungry for the meal. My table in the breakfast nook will hold the snacks, dips and chips and gardetto snacks (for my daughter)

The table will also hold the desserts.  Son, John is bringing a pecan and pumpkin pie. Joe's son Mark is bringing the rolls and a tray of pastries.

I will contribute a sugar free pumpkin pie for LuAnn. I will put the filling together this morning and keep it refrigerated till tomorrow. I'm using a pre made crust and will bake it fresh in the morning.

Well, there you have it. Many things are already done and in the frig...The table is already set and as Joe said just this morning. Balisha....all you have to do today is make the potatoes!!!  
Balisha

I should have put the oven temp. for these dishes. 325-350 works for all of them. The potatoes take the longest. I used to put them in a corning ware...big casserole, but found that it took forever for them to get hot in the middle. If they are spread out in a more shallow container...the don't take as long.

9 comments:

FlowerLady said...

Great ideas Balisha.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful day tomorrow, filled with love, joy and thankfulness.

FlowerLady

Blondie's Journal said...

This is fantastic advice for all of us, even with bigger kitchens because it saves so much time, too. The lettuce trick is just incredible. I'll see if I can put some of this to use today!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

XO,
Jane

Friko said...

It is a lovely table, I love a colourful table too and if I have to use plain white crockery I add splashes of colour with cloth and napkins.

Your turkey tricks will come in handy for my Christmas dinner!

acorn hollow said...

Yummm enjoy your thanksgiving it is nice to be together.
Cathy

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

You are ready!!!
My mom and sister always cook the turkey ahead of time like you too. Never heard about the lettuce trick though. And, it is always moist and delicious and hot.
It seems to me that the breast meat gets dry and cold by the time you carve it off the bird at the table.
Sounds delicious at your house.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Zoey said...

It sounds like you are incredibly organized, Balisha. I am sure your dinner will be a treat for all who attend.

Your table looks lovely with all that red.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Wishing you a wonderful loved filled day tomorrow. You cook like I have in the past. This year not quite as much with such a smaller area and not as many like in past years...

debra said...

You are right about cooking the turkey the day before. I have done that for years ( not your lettuce trick though...I will have to keep that in mind! : ) This year was one of the first ones that I did the turkey same-day and it was a very big turkey...done almost last minute...never again! Back to the day before for me! :) For Christmas I do turkey the day before, and ham on Christmas morning : )

Your table is beautiful by the way...I love the cheery red colors! : )

debra said...

You are right about cooking the turkey the day before. I have done that for years ( not your lettuce trick though...I will have to keep that in mind! : ) This year was one of the first ones that I did the turkey same-day and it was a very big turkey...done almost last minute...never again! Back to the day before for me! :) For Christmas I do turkey the day before, and ham on Christmas morning : )

Your table is beautiful by the way...I love the cheery red colors! : )