Monday, November 21, 2016

The Holiday is Approaching ~ Don't be Afraid to Cook at Home!

Thanksgiving is this week, hard to believe. Many can be overwhelmed with the very idea of cooking at home but as I advised last year, bring out the crockpots. I am not a regular user but there are definitely times when they just do the trick: saving time, money and keeping food hot. If you don't have one, borrow one. If you don't have two or three... borrow as many as you can or have your guests bring a side in their own crockpot.

If you are hosting, you could offer to do just the turkey and stuffing and let everyone else bring a side dish and bring it in their crockpot. If you are going the whole nine yards then bring out the crockpots.

Simple crockpot ideas: Turkey with dressing/stuffing. Yes, it can be done just as if you were doing a pot roast. Of course, your turkey can't be massive but it will be tender and juicy. To get a brown top, sear the breast side down (remove any giblets/organ meat from inside) before putting the turkey into the crockpot for full cooking. It can be done as long as you don't have a huge turkey, any large skillet will do to sear it in and I suggest in 3 tbs. olive oil and a dollop of butter. Once you done that, move the turkey to your crockpot, pour in 1/2 cup of turkey stock/broth (packaged or canned), another dollop of butter, dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano.

The basic dry bread with sage dressing should be done on the side on the stove top and once cooked, you can spoon into the turkey even as it is already in the crockpot. Pour over the now stuffed area of the turkey with a bit more turkey stock or broth will do - using from a tetra pack or can is ok. Follow cooking temps and timing for your turkey as suggested by your brand/manufacturer. Certainly cook it as long as you would a large pot roast - 3-4 hours. Always, test your meat temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure it is done.

Here are some delicious crockpot sides: country style mashed potatoes (mashing them down after they have cooked), or use sweet potatoes, french cut green bean casserole and good ole corn pudding among the traditional. For more non-traditional: acorn or butternut squash with maple bacon and walnuts, cooked apples with crushed pecans and brown sugar, perhaps a rustic rice pilaf and a favorite of mine - slivered brussel sprouts with either dried cranberries or dried apricots or both and slivered almonds.

Any and all pies can be baked ahead of time or store bought and refrigerated until just before dinner.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

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