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  1. I'm starting to brainstorm what to cook for Thanksgiving 2014. We are doing a potluck with the neighbors. 10 adults, 6 kids. I'm cooking the turkey (because we get one from work every year and I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to producing an amazing looking/tasting turkey) and have volunteered for a kid friendly app, and a side. Kid friendly app, because half of the 6 kids belong to me, and they're horrible children who don't eat anything. I'm thinking mini weenies in Coke and BBQ sauce (so sugary gross, but the kids LOVE THEM) for the app. Crab puffs are also super easy to throw together too, so that's also an option. Sides is where I'm stuck. I have to do a non starchy vegetable dish- so no potatoes, sweet potatoes or corn. Give me suggestions! No food allergies or restrictions in the group.
  2. I suck. I've got containers of homemade brock in my freezer, and I'm just now finishing this series on Thanksgiving. For those wondering what in the world is brock, it's kind of a cross between broth and stock that I make from the turkey carcass. In other words, it's a dessert topping and a floor wax! I can't get the video to embed right now, so we'll have to do it the old school way. Here's the transcript for my readers who are unable to watch the video or are hearing impaired. Okay, first up I require entertainment while cooking holiday meals. I don't have to have jugglers or magicians performing in my kitchen, but a holiday themed video or music makes the work go faster. I decided that Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Reginald Gardiner, and Sydney Greenstreet would be good company, so I fired up Christmas in Connecticut on my Kindle. I gave the turkey breast a bath, a TSA exam, inserted the temperature probe and stuck him in the oven. It's just the two of us this year, so I picked out a turkey breast that was a little less than nine pounds. That's plenty for us to have for dinner and a couple of days of leftovers. I used the convection setting on my oven to try and speed things up, so It took less than two hours for him to hit temperature. I pulled him out and let him have a nice half-hour rest on the counter while I finished up the rest. Letting your turkey rest for 30 minutes or so after roasting makes for a juicier turkey, and is very helpful if you only have one oven and have sides that need to go in the oven for 30 minutes or so. I crumbled up the cornbread I made and let it sit out to stale overnight. I chopped up celery, onion, sage, and parsley, and measured out the pecans. We had our first freeze the weekend before Thanksgiving, but luckily the sage and parsley plants survived the freeze. The basil and tomato plants were not as lucky. Now it's time for bacon!!!!1111!!! After the bacon is all crispy, toss it in the bowl with the crumbled up cornbread. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and add the celery and onions and cook until the onion turns translucent. Remove the veggies, and throw them in the bowl with the cornbread. Add the pecan halves to the pan and cook those until the pecans start to smell a little nutty but not burnt. Throw in the fresh herbs and cook those for about 60 seconds, and then pour the pecans and herbs into the bowl with all of the other stuff. Stir it up well to break up the bacon, add enough chicken broth or stock to moisten it enough to hold together, and put the mixture back in the cast iron skillet. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Go through your potatoes and pick out enough to fill up your pot. I usually use a two quart saucepan for mine. Scrub potatoes well and cut into quarters or eighths or whatever depending on how big they are. Peel one head, yes one entire head of garlic, and put the potatoes and garlic in your pot, add some salt, and enough water to fill the pan. Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain off most but not all of the cooking water. (I recommended putting your colander over another pot and draining the potatoes into that until you get a feel for how much water you prefer to leave in the bottom of the pan.) Add your desired seasonings, and mash with a potato masher. Yup, a whole stick of butter and a splash of heavy cream is how I like my "holiday" mashed potatoes. I forgot to get pictures of me making gravy, sorry. After the cornbread dressing came out of the oven, I put some of the rolls I made yesterday on a baking sheet and heated them in the oven until they were nice and warm. I pulled the cranberry-orange sauce out of the fridge, hacked off some turkey and yelled for Mr Cartmann99 to sequester the kitties so we could eat. As I explained earlier, when we don't have guests I pare down the menu as we run out of refrigerator space without hungry relatives helping us eat everything. I wasn't totally satisfied with the rolls, so I did some tweaking the following week and they turned out much better. I'm fussy that way. Anyway, a very, very belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
  3. I know there are almost as many stuffing recipes as there are families celebrating the holiday - so what are yours? Confession - I LOVE stuffing. And while I will always stick with my tradition for holidays I am on the prowl for other stuffing recipes from FJites to add to my weekend dinner repertoire. I make two for the holidays - one we just call regular stuffing to differentiate from our holy grail of German Dressing. In our family those words are uttered with reverence. Here's the thing - we've eaten this every holiday in memory for all living family members. It was my grandmother's recipe from her childhood in Germany - hence the oh so clever name of "German" dressing. I have never seen this as a stuffing recipe anywhere else. Not online, not in cookbooks, and newcomers to our family are always baffled and think it's weird until thy try it and learn to like it - but never as much as we do. So if anyone has ever heard of something similar it will make me so happy because I am beginning to get the feeling my Gramma just threw a bunch of stuff together and called it a family recipe. German Dressing A couple containers of chicken livers pureed until almost liquid, then sauteed in butter until cooked through 10-12 eggs beaten Dump cooled, cooked livers into eggs and stir. Liberally sprinkle nutmeg, salt, and pepper over the top (heavier on the nutmeg) Add enough plain breadcrumbs until you have the consistency where you can form it with your hands. Shove it inside the turkey and the rest in a loaf pan. the loaf pan is extra and gets splashed with chicken broth before baking. Also fabulous as dumplings when rolled into balls and boiled in chicken broth. Regular dressing Loaf of white bread cut into cubes about 3/4 inch (works best if slightly stale - can let bread sit out all night Diced celery Diced white onion couple of tubes of mild breakfast sausage cooked and broken up salt, pepper, lots of poultry seasoning
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