Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Battle-Plan

Now I have NO clue why I'm publishing this "for all the world to see" - but I *do* reference my own blog (with alarming frequency, actually), when I want to reference old recipe ideas...

So, today I decided to start my "Plan of Attack" for Thanksgiving, this year.

Now, it's not like I'm freaking Martha Stewart or anything (Good GAWD), planning a Thanksgiving Feast for 250.  Nor am I June Cleaver (Bwahahaha! *SNORT!*).

It's really just Hubs and me (and the dogs!  Mustn't forget the hounds!).  But I figure a little forethought never hurt anybody.  Plus, I know I need to do the Grocery Store Thang...  And I *want* to do the Farmer's Market Thang (realizing that the FM probably isn't gonna have everything I need, veggie-wise)...

So there's all my "Justification!"

Now, I'm just gonna post the Thanksgiving Menu, and the proper-order of Execution.  And I *may* even include a SHOPPING LIST (Woooooooooo!)

(Yeah.  I'm weird.  Deal with it!)

* * * * *
Okay, here 'tis:

Thanksgiving Battle Plan

Weds Morning – Turkey Brine and Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

Turkey Brine
- 1.5 C Apple Cider
- 1 Quart Water
- 2 TBS Fresh Rosemary
- 1-2 TBS Fresh Sage
- 3 Cloves Minced Garlic
- ¾ C Sea Salt
- ½ C Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
- 1-1/2 TBS Whole Peppercorns
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Zest from 2 Oranges

Combine in medium pot, medium heat. Stir until salt/sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil. Turn-off stove and allow to cool.

Reserve ½ cup of brine (for injection marinade).

Pour brine into 2 gallon Ziplock, add 3 quarts water, mix well.   Add turkey. Put in fridge for 18-24 hours.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

-          ¾ cup Truvia Baking Blend
-          2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
-          ½ tsp Salt
-          2 Large Eggs
-          1 Can (15oz) Pumpkin
-          1 Can (12oz) Evaporated Milk
-          1 Unbaked Deep-Dish Pie Crust

sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50* minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

*Pecan Topping:
-          ½ C Pecan Halves
-          ¼ C Butter
-          ¼ C Brown Sugar
Chop about 1/2 cup of pecans and add them to a sauce pan with 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Over low to medium heat, let the butter sizzle and caramelize the sugar, but be careful not to let the butter burn! remove from heat and set aside.  Pour on top of pie about 15 minutes before it’s done (when it’s firm, but looks soft/wet in center).

* * * * *
Thanksgiving Day

àAllow appx 2-1/2 – 3 hours for cooking the bird.

Rinse the bird under cold running water.  Then let it soak in plain water for 15 minutes.

Turkey Injection Marinade

-          ½ C of Reserved brine (from yesterday)
-          ½ C No/Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
-          ½ C Unsalted Butter, melted
-          3 TBS Lemon Juice
-          ½ tsp Garlic Powder
-          ½ tsp Onion Powder
-          ½ tsp Finely Ground Pepper
-          ½ tsp Rubbed Sage
-          1 T Splenda Brown-Sugar Blend

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the rest of the stuff. Stir ‘til well blended.

Reserve 1/2 cup  of marinade (for stuffing)

Inject the bird about an hour before cooking.  Let it rest in a foil pan for an hour.  Then, into the cooker!

Southern Style Candied Yams (1 hour)
-          4 large sweet taters
-          1 stick unsalted butter
-          2 cups Stevia/Sugar Blend
-          ¼ C Cream
-          3 tsp Cinnamon
-          ½ tsp Nutmeg
-          2 dashes Ground Cloves
-          1-2 TBS Maple Syrup
-          ½ TBS Vanilla Extract

Wash, peel, slice yams appx ½” thick rounds. Place in 12x9 baking dish. Melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar, stir til blended.  Add cream, stirring constantly.  Add spices and maple/vanilla.  Taste-test.

Pour over yams, cover with foil, bake @ 350* for 40 mins. Remove foil, stir, then bake add’l 20-25 mins. Plate and spoon syrup over yams.

(Hubs doesn't seem to care for yams, and I'm kinda "mediocre" about 'em - but dammit! - they're "traditional!" So I haven't given-up yet!)

Green Bean Casserole (30-35 mins)

-          2 Cans (15oz) French-cut Green Beans (drained? Reserve – just in case)
-          1 Can (10.75oz) Cream of Mushroom Soup
-          Handful of Fresh White Mushrooms, sliced
-          ¾ C Sour Cream
-          ½ C Chopped Onion
-          ¾ C Shredded Cheddar
-          ¾ tsp Garlic Powder
-          1 tsp Soy Sauce
-          1 Can (2.8oz) Cheddar/French-Fried Onions
Dump everything except FF Onions into medium casserole dish.  Blend well.  Bake at 350* for 25 mins.  Stir, then add FF onions. Cook add’l 10 mins ‘til brown.

(Oddly, we *never* had green-bean casserole when I was a kid - but I now consider it "mandatory" for Thanksgiving!) (How long has green-bean casserole been around, anyway?  Curious...) 

Stuffing!!! (20-30 mins)
-          ½ C of Reserved Marinade
-          1-1/4 C Apple Cider
-          1-1/4 C Unsalted Chicken Broth
-          ½ C Butter
-          2 Boxes Stove-Top Stuffing Mix
-          Chicken-Apple Sausage (4 links – chunked/chopped)
-          1 Medium Red Onion, chopped
-          2-3 Stalks Celery, chopped
-          ½ C Craisins (appx)
-          ½ C Chopped Pecans (appx)
-          Couple of Granny Smith Apples, peeled and chopped (New addition – curious to know how it works out)

Heat up marinade, cider, broth and butter in a medium saucepan.  *Check the Salt Level* - Adjust, if necessary
In separate small frying pan, brown the sausage and saute onion and celery ‘til limp.  Add sausage, onions, celery to marinade stuff.  Dump in Stuffing mix and toss in the Craisins, Pecans and Apples.  Mix well.  Dump into an 8x8 aluminum cake pan (or two!).  Bake at 350* for 20-30 mins.

(Stuffing is THE BEST part of Thanksgiving!)

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Stove-top, maybe 15-20 mins?  

Pretty self-explanatory.  

Salted, boiled, peeled 'taters, water drained.  Mash.  Add cream and salt + white pepper.

Gravy: Boiled, chopped giblets (no liver!), canned gravy from store, add some de-greased turkey drippings, chicken broth and (optional) thickener (if needed)

Thickener: either flour+butter roux or corn-starch+ water (whatever you've got on-hand)

(Mashed 'taters are like the "plain cousin" to stuffing!)

Crescent Rolls

Yep, from a can!


Cranberry Sauce or Relish
I'm going to use my Cranberry-Apple Jam for cranberry sauce, this year.  Maybe toss-in some finely chopped pecans and some orange zest and mix it up.

* * * * *
Now, prepare to be frightened (I know *I* am!), but here is the Master Shopping List for this year's Thanksgiving Extravaganza (bearing in mind, that I already have most of this stuff!)

1 box
Brown Sugar

12oz can
Evaporated Milk

Flour or Corn Starch

1-2 bags
Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

1-2 bags
Stevia/Sugar Baking Blend

Small bottle
Maple Syrup

10.75 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

15 oz can pumpkin

15 oz cans french-cut green beans

2.8 oz cans of French-Fried Onions ("Cheddar")

2 cartons
32 oz low-sodium (or no salt) Chicken Broth

2 boxes
Stove Top Stuffing Mix - Turkey Flavored

1-2 cans
Turkey Gravy

1 quart
Heavy (Whipping) Cream

1 pint
Sour Cream

1 box
Sweet Butter (reg butter)

1 box
Unsalted Butter

Big Bag
Pecan Halves

1 bottle
Soy Sauce 

9" Deep-Dish Frozen Pie Crust

1 gallon
Apple Cider

16 oz.
Chicken Apple Sausage

Giblets (if avail)

Organic Turkey Breast (or 10-12# Whole)

1-2 pkgs

1 head

Granny Smith Apples

Head Celery


Medium Onions


few sprigs

few sprigs

4 large
Sweet Potatoes/Yams

8 oz
White Mushrooms

White or Red Potatoes (I "eyeball" it)

1-2 cans
Crescent Rolls

Bay Leaves


Garlic Powder

Ground Cloves

Ground pepper (fresh ground is better)


Onion Powder

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Rubbed Sage

Sea Salt

Small bottle
Vanilla Extract (the REAL stuff!)

White Pepper

Whole peppercorns

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