With so many Americans (and possibly other nations) getting ready to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, it's a time when we should slow down in our busy lives and really reflect on what we have and what we're thankful for. I've already written my #Thanksgivingblog, so I won't talk much about that today. But I am going to talk about food!
Holidays are a time when we tend to gorge ourselves on a feast of food that would probably sustain the family for a week were it not prepared on the same day! I grew up having the traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing (not stuffing), gravy, and so on. So, this is what I prepare for my family each year.
I'm not too good at roasting a turkey in the oven, so I tend to choose a smaller turkey, or a turkey breast, and put it into my CrockPot with butter, cream of chicken soup, and water for the day. It slow cooks poultry to near perfection. It's never dry, always flaky and moist, and it saves my oven for other things to cook. My mother, if I remember right, used to start the turkey in the middle of the night, the day before Thanksgiving, or in the wee hours of the morning, so that she'd have the oven available later for dressing.
I make cornbread dressing, just as my mom always did. I cheat a little and use Jiffy cornbread mix, but I always add about a tablespoon of sugar to each batch. Then I chop up hard-boiled eggs, onions if I have them, and mix poultry seasoning, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper into the crumbled cornbread. Then I crack a couple raw eggs into it, fill it with water, and stick it into the oven.
For my gravy, I cheat a little bit too. I take cans of cream of chicken soup, add poultry seasoning, sage, salt, pepper, and chopped up hard-boiled eggs. I also use some of the juice and drippings from the turkey in the CrockPot and mix it all together. My husband says that my dressing and gravy should be considered the 5th food group. Although, with recent changes to the "food pyramid" that we grew up with, I'm not sure how many groups they actually have now!
Then, of course, we have the required mashed potatoes, usually a green bean casserole (with the crispy French onions), sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and brown sugar, yeast rolls, and cranberry sauce! We may have other odds and ins in depending on what we were feeling like having when we went shopping.
I've never been one to bake pies well, so we usually end up buying a premade pumpkin pie and usually a pecan pie too. Sometimes, I'll splurge and get a chocolate cream pie for myself, since I don't like pumpkin and can no longer chew pecan pie :( . Chocolate's my thing!
So, the family will gorge itself on all this food at around 2:00 in the afternoon, then we'll collapse into turkey comas for a few hours, only to wake again and return to the buffet to pick and choose at a favorite dish. And then comes the turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, or any dish you could substitute chicken with turkey for, just to try and get the leftovers eaten before it's time to throw them out!
Now that I've gotten you salivating at the thought of Thanksgiving dinner, I'll offer up a challenge: leave me a comment on a special dish you serve at Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, or one you remember from your childhood. Maybe we can find a new "special dish"!