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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pass the Turkey: Easy, Cheap, and Fast ways to prepare your feast


Turkey day can be a real pain in the neck. Even though I don't have the responsability of cooking the bird this year or any year(For this I am eternally GRATEFUL !) I do buy a few Birds after Thanksgiving and prepare them for my family. I can make a whole turkey dinner for much less than $5.00 a meal. Here's my tips you can ue for a cheap Thanksgiving feast on Thanksgiving or whenever the urge strikes.

The Bird: I remember many a Thanksgiving as a kid where 3-4 glasses of water were required to wash down a dry, dry, dry bird. Then Reynold's came out with a bag for oven cooking and we never had a dry Turkey again. If you don't want to spend the cash on Oven cooking bags, use my little trick ...Cook your bird upside down. Sure won't be pretty but the white meat will be very juicy !
Stuffing the bird and cooking is not recommended, but in my opinion the stuffing doesn't taste half as good prepared outside the bird. So stuff the bird, and remove it after Tom is all cooked up. To lessen the risk of salmonella and to get a nice crust on your stuffing, place it in a oven roasting dish , drizzle with some pan juices and a half stick of butter cut into patties and toss it back in the oven on 350 for about 1/2 an hour.

Stuffing: Go to the bakery, Bread Department and get some nice crusty bread that's a day or 2 old ( useually around 75% off) chop your bread into cubes at home and leave out to get stale. Then you'll season and toast your bread chunks ; chop up carrots, onion, celery, apples, and rasins and place them in the bird.

Side Dishes: I love the side dishes, probably more than the turkey. Sweet potatoes are the easiest . Clean and cube your sweet potatoes. Place in an oven proof pan. Sprinkle with salt, brown sugar and a 1/2 cup orange juice . Roast at 350 uncovered until soft. You can top with marshmallows and allow to bake 5 minutes more until they're melted.
Green bean casserole is another favorite . Here is a link to the casserole I make.

Desserts: I'm no baker, but I love the smell of baked treats in my kitchen. You'll never catch me rolling out pie crusts but I have been known to make a brown betty or ten :) You don't need to stick with Apples for your brown betty, cause I sure don't. Here are some variations you can serve for your thanksgiving desserts and a great video for my favorite brown betty , Sweet Potatoes. I use fresh sweet potatoes ( over baking some from the prior recipe, but use canned if you like)
Brown Betty Varieties
Pear and Honey
Rum Apple ( Substitue 2 shots spiced rum for other liquid )
Cran-Apple (just toss about 1 cup of dry cranberries in with your apples)
Banana Mango (cut your bake time by 5 minutes)
And now the video for Pecan Topped Sweet Potato Brown Betty ( you can leave out the Pecans, but it's a holiday so splurge!)


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