The older I get, the easier I want things to be. Thanksgiving is no exception. The key word is streamline.
My mom always made a tent of foil over the turkey. It made the skin crisp and brown while keeping the meat moist.
Once she tried making it in a paper bag and the bag burned. Not one of our finer Thanksgivings.
When I got married I followed the recipe from my treasured “Joy of Cooking.” I bought cheesecloth, soaked it in melted butter and spices, placed it over the turkey and basted away – every half hour. Really. It was always moist, always tasty. But really, every half hour?
Enter husband Ronnie, who had been a single dad and cooked most foods in the microwave. He looked at me like I had a baster for a nose. “You have to cook it in a bag.”
Been there. My mom tried that.
No, a plastic oven bag.
So I told him to cook the turkey if he thought he knew so much.
And he did. And it was great. My grandmother loved it. She liked everything he did anyway.
Now that’s standard procedure. And it saves me time.
Now I understand why my mom bought Mrs. Paul’s sweet potatoes rather than making her own.
Have some cereal with your turkey
One year I decided that I was eating healthy and so would everyone else at my dinner table. Instead of our usual stuffing made with lots of butter and onions, I made a recipe from the American Heart Association cookbook. It replaced the fat with apples.
My brother Mike, who really is not adventurous but does eat liver (gross!), did taste it.
“Tastes like breakfast cereal,” he said.
Had lots of leftovers that year.
This year I am counting calories. I use MyFitnessPal.com to keep track of everything I eat. I won’t be substituting apples for fat, but I will be watching my portion sizes. I will stop at half a cup of my sister-in-law’s famous potato filling. I hope.
Can’t provide my sister-in-law’s recipe because I don’t have it. But here’s my mom’s recipe, with no particular measurements, and my additions along the way.
Peel, cut and boil potatoes. (At least eight, depending on your crowd)
Drain and mash them with a hand masher. Don’t add milk.
Meanwhile, sauté onion and celery in butter or margarine. I add shredded carrots and garlic for color and flavor.
When vegetables are soft, mix them with potatoes and one can of chicken broth. Cube day old bread and mix it in. Season with salt, pepper and parsley. I add sage and thyme because I like those flavors.
Bake for one hour. You can bake this ahead of time or with the turkey.
We never stuff the turkey. My mom did it once, but that was too much effort.
No matter how you cook it, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.