Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fryin' Turkeys, the do NOTS.

For future reference...  Do NOT use more than 3 gallons of oil. THREE gallons. NOT three and a half.  And, 18-19lb turkey, max.   Also might be a good idea.. kill the flame before lowering the bird into the oil.  We had a bit of spillage tonight.. okay a LOT of spillage that almost turned into a fire bomb.. But we managed to kill the gas, and get the pot off and get it all cleaned up before continuing on.  Also, do not believe websites that say anything over an hour of frying.  Check it at 45 mins. Period.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

It seems like I only make it back here for Thanksgiving every few years.  I'm always wishing I would post stuff here more often, but I never seem to make that happen.  But I always visit past Thanksgiving posts to double check my brine ingredients and what bread I used that I loved in the stuffing, etc.  So, here I am again this year.  It's 2014 this time. We thought about "Going Rogue" again and doing just the turkey breasts like I did in 2009... but then I realized.. 5 years ago I wasn't feeding four hungry teenage boys.  Yeah.  So, we're doing a whole turkey after all.  Haha  So far this year is shaping up to be a yummy year.  Last year I fed 32 people, it was both epic and an epic fail in many ways.  I swore we were going rogue and inviting NO ONE over. Not even The Brother and The Sister in law.  But.. I can't just not have Thanksgiving without Jamie, so they're the only ones coming over.  We're still cooking enough food for 30 people.  I guess that's just how we roll.

So far the plan is:

Appetizers:  Sweet and Sour Meatballs and the Asagio Ham Pinwheels (Thanksgiving 2011 post)


Fried Turkey that's been brined in the same brine as the 2011 post.  I am not roasting it.  Last year we had both.. because of the number of people.. David fried one of our turkeys and I roasted the other in the oven.  Mine wouldn't finish cooking and was raw at the leg joints. Mine caused me to sit in my room for 10 minutes crying.  His was delicious. No one cried over his bird.  Lesson learned?  Brine the turkey then just give it to the man to fry. One less thing for me to do.

Ham.. because honestly, I love ham over turkey. So does Justin and Christian.  So we got a small ham, and I'm going to throw it in the crockpot with some apple cider to heat it up.. and then I'm going to pour some maple syrup and brown sugar over it with some cloves and cinnamon and call it glazed and yummy. 

Stuffing is my dish, as usual.  This year I got a baguette that I'm going to dice up and leave to stale, then I am going to toss the cubes with some melted herb butter and toast them in the oven.  That will get mixed with cornbread and sauteed onions, celery and garlic as well as some chicken broth, eggs, and fresh poultry herbs and a little extra sage.  Bake it at 400 for an hour and it's wonderful. :)

Everyone's favorite green beans... My greenbeans have become a yearly request for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas dinner.  They are simple but yummy.  I dice up a package of bacon and brown it in a large sautee pan.  When it's browned I remove it from the pan and brown sliced onions in the drippings.  While those are cooking, I microwave steam the green beans for about 5 minutes to give them a little head start.  When the onions are done, I add in some chopped garlic and the green beans and give it all a stir and let the green beans sear a bit.  Then I deglaze the pan with some marsala wine, and add some chicken broth.  Basically after this I forget about it  and let it simmer on low for about 10 or 15 minutes.  It was a happy accident that happened when I got distracted during Christmas dinner one year.  When the liquid is reduced and the beans are cooked, I add in a heavy splash of cream and voila. Everybody's favorite green beans. :)

And my last side is the Butternut Squash and Sausage Risotto that I made in 2009 for the Rogue Thanksgiving.  I didn't really give detailed directions in that post to look at for future reference so I'll do that in this one..  I'll roast the diced butternut squash in the oven with olive oil, salt and garlic pepper (I may even do this ahead of time and then just keep it in the fridge. It can warm when it is added to the rice at the end).. Then for the risotto I'll use a few links of sweet italian turkey sausage, casings removed, browned with a finely diced onion.  The arborio rice and chopped garlic will be added once they are brown and the pan deglazed with marsala.. Ladles of hot chicken stock will be used to finish the rice and make it creamy.  When the rice is cooked through I'll add a chiffonade of fresh basil and sage and stir in the roasted butternut squash. Hoping it is as yummy as I remember it to be!

The Sister-in-law, Jamie, is going to make a Butternut Squash casserole that she found on Pinterest that I'm really excited to try. It sounds a whole lot like the butternut squash casserole that we all loved from the restaurant "Cannoli Joe's" that's now closed down.  She's also going to take care of the mashed potatoes and the candied sweet potatoes, because it's just not Thanksgiving without them.

I'm also going to make Ambrosia with canned mandarine oranges (3), crushed pinapple (1), a jar of marachino cherries, mini marshmallows, sour cream and cool whip.  I haven't decide if this counts as a side or a dessert or a salad.  LOL  And of course canned cranberries, both the jellied and the whole berry.. Why? Because we like them and aren't ashamed of it! haha

We're going to have rise and bake dinner rolls as well as the awesome biscuits from the freezer section that we've fallen in love with this year.  They are AMAZING.  HEB brand frozen buttermilk biscuits.  For real. Best biscuits ever.

And as for desserts.  Well you know we're going to go overboard there, too.  I think we're each doing 3.  Mine are:

Sugar Free Sweet Potato Pie.  Name pretty much says it all.. I found a recipe online that I'm going to try. It uses Splenda granular and whole fresh sweet potatoes.  We've got David's diabetes under control for the most part and this dinner is going to do him in as it is.. want to have a sugar free dessert for him.  I need to remember to buy some sugar free redi-whip or cool whip to go on it, too.

 Since Justin doesn't like pie of any kind, I always try to have a cake or cupcakes or something... This year he and I picked out a recipe for a Caramel Apple Dump Cake that we found on Pinterest.

And then of course we HAVE to have Pumpkin Trifle, because that is Andy's favorite thing..  We usually follow Paula Deen's Recipe using whatever quick bread I made for the holiday.. Usually pumpkin.  That's what I got this year.  I also got a mix for "Apple Cider Muffins" that looked pretty dang yummy.. I'm going to make both into loaves of bread and make the trifle out of whichever one they think will be the yummiest.  Then we can have the other loaf of bread for snacks during the day before dinner.  For the pudding part of the mixture..  most of Paula Deen's recipes call for Cook and Serve pudding.  I hate Cook and Serve pudding.  I think it's a pain. So, I like to make this with instant pudding, using just slightly less milk (like you would if you were following the directions for a pudding pie), and then stir the can of pumpkin pie filling into that.  Works just fine for me and is less dishes and work.  Then it's just cubed up quick bread, a layer of the pumpkin/pudding mixture, a layer of cool whip, and then repeated.  On the top, I like to sprinkle some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and then decorate it with a few whole cinnamon sticks to make it pretty.  Is always one of the biggest hits on the dessert table.

Jamie is going to make two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, snickerdoodles, and pumpkin bread.

All this.  For 12 people. Hahaha  We should have invited others over.  I'm such a scrooge.