Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftover Pie

I looked in the fridge today and saw all the containers of leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Then I saw a box that I had some Pillsbury pie crust in there and the idea hit me. Why not make a leftover pie? It's kind of like a pot pie or a calzone, I suppose. It was super fast since everything was already made and it was delicious!

There really isn't a "recipe" for this. Roll out the pie crust and cut it into quarters. I will tell you what I used, but you can use whatever you like!

I spread some on whipped potatoes and sweet potatoes followed by stuffing and turkey. Sprinkle it with a little salt & pepper and top it with the other crust.

Press the edges of the crust over the filling and then roll the edges up to seal it closed.

Bake it in the oven @ 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. You can even use gravy as dipping sauce if you want :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

I don't know what this post will turn out to be by the end of the day, but I thought I would give it a go. I will update this throughout the day with more current info and pictures. If I were to wait until tonight this post would never happen because I will be exhausted and won't have time.

My alarm went off at 6:30 am to start getting things ready. I preheated the oven and took the turkey out of the fridge. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Empty the contents of the bag into a pan and remove the kidneys. Cover with cold water and set aside. I don't know about you, but I can't help but think funny thoughts when I see these in the pan....carry on.

One of the most important things you can do with your turkey is to rinse it really well with cold water. Don't forget to rinse the cavity as well. Once that is done, place it in your roasting pan and pat it dry with paper towels. Now you can tip it on its side and salt and pepper the inside cavity.

Now you can tip it on its side and salt and pepper the inside cavity.

There is a lot of controversy about cooking the turkey with the stuffing in it or not. I used to always cook my turkey with stuffing, but for the last two years I haven't. Instead of cooking the stuffing in the bird I stuff the cavity with onions, celery, carrots, garlic cloves, rosemary and sage. It really gives the turkey a lot of flavor!!!!!

Anything that won't fit in the cavity goes in the bottom of the roasting pan along with three sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary and some chicken stock. I don't measure any of these things, I just pour the stock in until I have about 1 - 1 1/2 inches of stock in the bottom of the pan.

The next thing I do is to separate the skin from the turkey breast.

Very gently push your fingers between the skin and the breast and push your hand under the skin. Be very careful to not rip the skin.

Once you have a nice pocket, place 6 tablespoons of butter under the skin.

In a shallow dish melt another 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Brush the entire turkey with the butter.

Just when you think there is already plenty of butter on the turkey, pour the rest straight over it!! Today is not the day to count calories!

Now give your turkey a nice massage to thank it for all of its deliciousness.

You can love turkey...just don't love your turkey.

Now salt and pepper the turkey up really well. There will be no magic pilgrims in your oven to season the turkey for you, so this is your chance.

This beautiful bird is now ready for the oven.

(please excuse the messy hair and shirt with the skeletons! It was early! lol)

The only thing left to do is to give it a nice aluminum foil tent. This is another thing that is a matter of opinion. I know there are a lot of people who start cooking at a high temp without foil to brown and then turn the heat way down and continue to cook at a lower temp. I don't do it that way. I cook my turkey @ 325 degrees the whole way. Tent with foil and do not mess with it for any reason until about 1 hour before dinner. That chicken stock in the bottom of the pan will keep it moist and the foil will trap it in there. At around the one hour mark (maybe 40 minutes depending on how the bird looks) I remove the foil and cook uncovered for the remainder of cooking time to allow the turkey to brown.

Part 2

Okay - the rest of this will be mostly photos because there was too much craziness to really document much else! I will include links to recipes where I can!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

Spicy Sausage Stuffing

Green Bean Casserole

Glazed Pearl Onions

Turnips & Carrots

No recipe. Boil turnips and carrots together until tender. Mash together with butter, salt and pepper.

Sweet Potatoes

No recipe. Peel potaotes. Boil until tender. Mash with butter, salt & pepper.

Take a break with a glass of wine and enjoy staring at your beautiful turkey while it rests for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apple Pie & Thanksgiving Preparations

Today was a totally crazy day! I choose to torture myself the day before Thanksgiving in hopes of having a less stressful Thanksgiving day. I am kind of OCD when it comes to having everything ready ahead of time and doing all the prep work as far in advance as possible. Here's to hoping that tomorrow will be stress free!

One of my first jobs of the day was to bake an apple pie. I have been making it the same way for so many years and decided I better take out the cookbook so I knew how to source it on here. When I looked at it I realized that I am really only using their measurements for the flour and spices....all the rest is different but I will tell you that this is where my recipe originated. I love my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I've had it since Bryan and I got married almost ten years ago and I still cook from it.

Apple Pie

  • 2 pie crusts (refrigerated or homemade)
  • 7 cups of peeled/sliced Cortland apples (1 apple usually yields approximately 1 cup of apple slices)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider (or apple juice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the bottom pie crust in the pie plate and set aside.

In a large bowl mix the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and flour.

Peel all the apples. I have made so many of these pies over the years that now I play games while I make them. I always try to peel the entire apple in one long strip....most of the time it works! I am pretty sure that I am an expert "peeler" too. I was so bored that I decided to time myself (I know, I am unusually lame). Do you know that I can peel an entire apple in about 20 seconds? You will all eventually get to know my inner dork and hopefully will accept me and love me for it anyways ;)

Once all the apples are peeled I simply cut around the core and get 4 nice size wedges of apple.

Cut these down into small slices.

As you cut them, place the slices into the bowl with the spices and spoon the sugar over them. This will help prevent the oxidation that turns the apples brown. I am sure my sheer speed helps with this too (ha ha ha).

After all the apples have made their way into the sugar mixture, spoon half of the apples into the pie plate. Place pieces of the butter cubes evenly on top of the apple slices. Spoon the rest of the apples in the pie plate and the remainder of the butter. I almost *always* use apple cider in my pie, but I only buy apple cider when it is fresh from the apple orchard. If I don't have cider I just use apple juice. Drizzle the tablespoon of apple juice over the top of the apples. I'm not really sure why I started adding apple cider to my pies, but I think it adds moisture and I love it!

Top the pie with the second crust and place on a baking sheet.

Cut slits in the top to vent the pie. I was feeling the love today, so I made a heart lol

Protect the crust with aluminum foil before placing in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes and then remove the foil from the crust. Return the pie to the oven and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few hours and then serve or refrigerate.

Once the pie was done I still had a ton of work ahead of me. In order to make tomorrow as easy as possible...I cleaned, cut and measured all of my produce for my recipes. They were then placed in Ziplock bags, labeled and put in the fridge for tomorrow :) See the OCD coming out again? ;)

I even cleaned and trimmed my green beans :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Celebrate and give thanks for all of our many blessings. Enjoy the time with your family and stay safe! If you need to drink a few glasses of wine to make the day easier...I won't judge you ;)

There will be photos from tomorrow. Not sure if they will all make sense because I will be very busy, but I will do my best!