I thought I would be stressed about hosting my first Thanksgiving. I was picturing no space in the oven, chaos in the kitchen, complaining behind closed doors. Kids breaking things, pets peeing in corners, adults drinking too much. Raw turkey, burnt green beans, egg shells in the mix. Worst nightmare. Take-out anyone?
Not so. I did some research. I made a timeline. I discovered it really doesn’t have to be difficult. The whole day could, potentially, be very simple. Anticipating problems equals problem solving. No space in the oven – get a turkey roaster that can sit on a counter, freeing up all the oven space I need. Find stove-top recipes. Chaos in the kitchen – kick ’em out! If you aren’t working get out. Go hang out! Complaining behind closed doors – that will probably be me – so, simply don’t let it happen. Kids breaking things – don’t leave anything out that can be broken (duh). Pets peeing in corners – Indy will behave, I’m sure. I don’t know why she’s a concern. Adults drinking too much – again, that will probably be me – so again, simply don’t let it happen. As for the cooking disasters I nightmare about? Practice, practice, practice.
Herb roasted turkey OR cranberry orange roasted turkey…we will roast a tester tomorrow to see how it all works out.
Sausage cornbread stuffing OR sausage garlic bread stuffing…I already made a batch of the garlic bread kind and I loved, loved, loved it. We’ll test the cornbread stuffing tomorrow.
Cider gravy or cider gravy…it just sounds too good to try anything else. Again, I’ll make it tomorrow just to see what happens. Do I really need a fat separator?
Cranberry sauce 1: Tuaca touched (in honor of the wedding)
Cranberry sauce 2: Chipotle touched (in honor of smoky heat)
Mashed potatoes…carmelized shallot buttermilk or garlic? Leaning towards the buttermilk…again, we’ll test tomorrow.
Sweet potatoes – in years past I made cajun inspired potatoes served in orange shells. I think straight-up sweets with mini marshmallows will do the trick this year, in honor of the kids.
Green beans – this year I am saying no to the standard casserole – you know the one – the cream of something soup with crunchy onion things on top. This year I want to do something that will not need the oven and be just a little different. Something with yummy bacon and garlic.
Pearl onions – these will be new as well. Pearls with raisins, honey, butter, almonds, sherry…should be fun. I’ll make a mock-up of those tomorrow as well.
Dessert – something simple – pumpkin pie whoopies with ice cream. It’s my mom’s birthday so I’m wondering if a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting might be nicer?
So. There’s the menu. Minus the bread. I’m really still trying to decide to do about that. Tomorrow, I cook. And cook.