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Changes for Thanksgiving 2013

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This year we had a huge 10-lb turkey breast, not the whole bird (our tribe is diminishing in numbers) and for the first time we really kept watch on the internal temperature. It helped that we had a temperature proble built into the oven.

Surprise! It was finished to 165' in half the time the package said (actually stopped at about 162' and let the temp keep rising while it rested, covered)

I never had any idea white meat turkey could be that moist and flavorful! Tender and delicious, not dry and boring!

We'll be doing it that way next year for sure!

Never assume the host is providing the "staples".

Usually our host makes the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes.  I thought it was a rule. 

Apparently it is not.

I found a new recipe for sweet potatoes I wanted to bring.  Didn't because that was the host's job.  Wish I had.  There were no sweet potatoes.


I'm going to prep more in advance. I'm also going to try to avoid going out of town right before Thanksgiving (which, fortunately, is not something I normally do).

This year, we went out of town for a milestone birthday celebration, and didn't get back until about a week before the holiday. So the weekend before Thanksgiving, we were catching up on laundry and sleep, and didn't really prep very well for the holiday. We didn't buy our groceries until Monday night, and we didn't cook anything in advance.

We got everything done that we needed to get done, but we ate about 3 hours later than I'd intended, and things weren't really ready at the right times (because of a lack of oven space). I've decided that, while it's all fresh, I'm making myself a darned spreadsheet with ingredients, cooking times, and whatever else I can think of that might be useful, so we don't dither over our shopping and planning. It also didn't help that we had to go to the store on Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday to get forgotten items that we didn't buy on our big trip on Monday. That wasn't fun at all.

On the other hand, I am totally going to buy a whole turkey if we can find another small one (we bought a 13 pound one this year). We had been doing turkey breasts with some bonus dark meat (since the grocery store typically sells drumsticks separately). It's a lot of turkey for just the two of us, but we got basically 3 Thanksgiving dinners out of it, and we still have a bunch of breast meat for sandwiches next week. Whatever we don't eat next week we'll freeze and put in a casserole or something. On top of that, the turkey was easier to cook, because we use Alton Brown's recipe and put "aromatics" in the cavity. Which, incidentally, is much easier to do when the turkey has a cavity.

I'm also going to try to perfect my roux-making skills. I finally managed it for the gravy this year (seriously, like first time ever). The gravy was worlds and away better than what we've had in the past, but still has room for improvement. I think we're going to try roasting more chickens as a regular meal thing, so I'll get to practice my gravy-making on that.

Also, we're buying a roasting rack. I'm done trying to elevate the turkey from the pan with tubes of aluminum foil. Now that we consistently make our own turkeys (and want to roast more chickens), it's worth buying.

Well, i didn't do t-giving this year (it's not really celebrated here) but I have in past years.

last year i made a stuffed turkey breast roll - i bought a fresh breast (skinless and boneless), marindated, then sliced it not all the way through, and made it into a big rectangle which i spread with stuffing (onion/mushroom,nuts) and then roasted. amazing. and oh so much easier than a whole bird.

Lady Snowdon:
Based on this Thanskgiving, I'm going to try and get out of making mashed potatoes whenever possible!  I love mashed potatoes, but usually think that other people don't make them quite right.  This year, someone else volunteered to make them before I could.  I made cranberries instead, and it only took me an hour to make six pounds of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving (43 people total at dinner this year), instead of the three hours it took us to make 10 lbs of mashed potatoes two years ago.  The other person's mashed potatoes tasted just fine, and I was so happy to have some extra time back in my day!  I'm fine with making small batches of mashed potatoes for a group, but no more mass production for me. 


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