Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving cooking/prep

Here's the cooking/prep schedule:

Saturday: pick up turkey, stick in cooler with plenty of ice

Sunday: dice celery and onion for stuffing, put in containers in fridge
mix up green bean casserole (minus the onion topping) in oven safe dish, put in fridge
cut up sugar pie pumpkin, saving the seeds
bake pumpkin pieces, scoop cooked pumpkin out of the shell
make pumpkin puree for pie, put in cheesecloth lined colander in the fridge

Monday: make the Make-Ahead mashed potato recipe found on the Pioneer Woman website
put drained pumpkin puree in sealed container in fridge
buy bread for Thursday (rolls for dinner, gingerbread bagels for breakfast)
clean part of the kitchen
realize the probe thermometer is broken & there is no way to properly cook the turkey without it

Tuesday: more kitchen cleaning
wash & trim Brussels sprouts
pull apple pie filling out of the freezer and put into the fridge to thaw
pull pie crusts out of the freezer to thaw
move things from family room to the garage
get Munchkin to vacuum the front room
clean off island in kitchen (I hope?)
buy a new probe thermometer

Wednesday: locate matching placemats and napkins, wash if needed
scrub out big 5 gallon beverage cooler (used only for turkey brining)
mix up turkey brine, bring to a boil, let cool
locate & wash gravy boats
get Munchkin to vacuum family room

Wednesday night: make pies, leave on island to cool, cover with tea towel
cut up squash, save seeds, put squash pieces in container in fridge
unwrap & rinse off turkey, put giblets in container in fridge
put turkey brine, turkey, and ice in the brining cooler
mix up frittata for breakfast, put in fridge
prep mushroom filling ingredients for pastry shells
gather aromatics for turkey, place on counter near work area
put new stick of butter in butter dish, put jar of cranberry-apple butter next to butter dish

Thursday morning: make breakfast frittata, toast bagels, turn on Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
pull out side dishes to come to room temperature, preheat oven to 500F
put sparking juice and Spicy Cider in the fridge
drain brine from cooler, pat turkey dry, put on rack in roasting pan (with turkey neck in pan underneath the rack)
steep turkey aromatics in microwave, stuff them in the turkey, rub turkey with oil
roast turkey for 30 mins
toss pumpkin/squash seeds with oil and roast in toaster oven, salt to taste
eat breakfast using paper plates

Thursday, after breakfast: turn oven down to 350F, then leave alone until turkey reaches 161F.
after turkey has roasted for an hour, rub squash with olive oil and roast in toaster oven for an hour
set appetizers/snacks out on table
dot mashed potatoes with butter, top casserole with onion topping, toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil in a baking dish

After the turkey is finished: set turkey on top of the stove to rest, tent with foil
place mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and Brussels sprouts in the oven
warm mushroom gravy, make turkey gravy
make the mushroom filling
heat green beans (not casserole) in microwave

After side dishes are finished: turn oven up to 400F
Put rolls and pastry shells in oven
Have Munchkin pull beverages out of fridge and set table

After rolls & shells are finished: Turn off oven
Fill pastry shells with mushroom filling, call people to table
put pies in still warm oven to hold while everyone eats
enjoy Thanksgiving dinner!

I'm sure I've left out something.

Thanksgiving dinner menu - 2010

Here's what we're eating:

Snacks/appetizers to munch on while waiting for the main meal to finish cooking

  • marinated asparagus & roasted red peppers
  • crackers with assorted cheeses
  • hummus and pita crisps and/or carrot sticks
  • sweet potato chips
  • roasted pumpkin seeds (maybe)

Main meal

  • turkey
  • mushrooms in puff pastry shells (for the non-turkey eaters)
  • stuffing
  • mashed potatoes (2 batches - one vegan, one dairy)
  • gravy (2 batches - one turkey, one vegan mushroom)
  • green bean casserole (for the ones who think Thanksgiving will be all wrong without it)
  • green beans (for the ones who don't like green bean casserole)
  • roasted Brussels sprouts
  • baked Sweet Dumpling squash
  • orange-cranberry sauce
  • buttermilk rolls with cranberry-apple butter (or just plain butter -- or both!)


  • apple pie
  • dairy-free pumpkin pie
  • possibly a raisin pie if I have time or room for leftovers
  • vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream to go with the pies

Drinks - sparkling cranberry-cabernet juice or TJ's Spicy Cider

We've taken a few shortcuts. The vegan potatoes and gravy were purchased, but I might do them from scratch in the future (the potatoes look pretty simple... potatoes, olive oil, vegetable stock, salt & pepper). The fresh orange-cranberry sauce is also purchased; I can make this from scratch, but this one tastes exactly like it would if I made it and saves me a little time. The rolls are a higher end brown-n-serve variety. The stuffing base is a seasoned mix (but not Stove Top!) that I'll enhance with sauteed vegetables and stock. The pies will be a bit of a contradiction -- while I know how to make pie crust, I'm using purchased frozen pie crusts this time. On the other hand, all of the pie filling is made from scratch (including from fresh pumpkin).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tawny Pumpkin Pie

This is the pumpkin pie I've made for Thanksgiving for decades. It's from one of the Farm Journal cookbooks.

Tawny Pumpkin Pie
  • 1-1/4 c. cooked mashed or canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 c. sugar.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger.
  • 1 tsp flour.
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten.
  • 1 c. evaporated milk.
  • 2 tblsp. water.
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices and flour in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add evaporated milk, water and vanilla.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Pour into pie shell.
  7. Bake in 400 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on rack.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.