Pre-Thanksgiving Day party ~ Today is all about Tips & Sides!

 

thanks giving meal final

Today we are talking all about the sides. Sure the turkey is good; but what good a turkey without all the trimmings? smothered in gravy of course. With that being said, I also think we can get a little carried away with sides. I am going to share with you a few of my own tips along with some great side dish recipes and why I choose the ones I choose.

Tip #1 ~ When planning a big meal such as Thanksgiving you want to not only think about that day but also what you can do with all the left overs the day after. Here are a few examples of what I am talking about

* I choose pickled eggs over deviled because I know in the following days a refreshing turkey salad will do my body good since I spent the whole day in a carb/sugar coma.  Or I can make a turkey sandwich on toast with lettuce, mayo and of course a sliced pickled egg.

* I like green bean casserole or my broccoli casserole because they are delicious wrapped in a crescent and baked with a nice bowl of caned tomato soup… and yes I said caned! you spent a week preparing for Thanksgiving day, once the holiday is over lets take it easy for a few days 😉

 

 how to make pickled eggs

lets start with how to hard boil your eggs. This is the method my mom uses and they always turn out perfect, aside from the one or two that crack… hey, it happens.

 

 

How to hard boil an egg:

First place very carefully place the eggs in a pot. Fill the pot with COLD water, fill till water covers the top of the eggs. Turn heat on high and wait for water with eggs in to come to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up turn heat off, but keep pot on that same burner, cover eggs with a lid and set timer for 12 minutes. Once the 12 minutes are up carefully drain the water in the sink and fill the pot up with cold water to help them cool quicker. Once cooled they can be peeled.

 

I got my pickled egg recipe from my best friend. I’m not sure where she got it but I know it works and they are delicious!

Pickled egg recipe:

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs

2/3 cup white vinager

1/2 cup sugar

2 cans red beets (16 oz each)

 

Hard boil eggs, cool, & peel. set a side. In a small to medium size pot heat vinegar, sugar, & beets. Cool slightly. Pour over peeled eggs and refrigerate over night or until eggs turn a deep purple.

* Tip # 2 ~ If you are planning on making pickled eggs often you may want to find a container just for your pickeled eggs. I bought one at ollies. You want it to bee deep and wide enough to get a spoon in it. The Utz party mix barrels would work perfectly! similiar to the one below.

Now lets talk mashed potatoes. I love them! They are cheap to make and a little go a long way. You can purchase a 10 lb bag of russet potatoes for right around $4. And please don’t go instant, not for the holidays.

I also love mashed potatoes because they are great left overs to use in casseroles. I will be posting a chili cheese dog casserole next week if my Granny has enough left over mashed potatoes… Oh that is something I should have mentioned, Granny does Thanksgiving but I do a similar meal on Christmas, thats why I know all the do’s and don’ts of holiday meals.

Here is a fantastic recipe for Mashed potatoes!

Click Here for recipe! 

mashed potatoes

Here is another fantastic side dish… Brussels sprout casserole. I made this for Christmas last year and people couldn’t believe how good it was, even the people who HATED Brussels sprouts.

CLICK HERE FOR BRUSSELS SPROUTS RECIPE (don’t mind the photo, it was from when I first started blogging and had no idea how important a photo was, it also did not have the french fried onion topping yet. I will try to take a better photo next time I make it!)

 

 

Tip #3 ~ It is ok to have an EASY microwave side! If you are going all out with Turkey, mashed potatoes, and a few other sides, it is ok to have a side such as cream corn that you just throw in a bowl and throw in the microwave….Trust me no one will complain!

 

Tip #4 ~ Sit down and look over your meal the week before. Try to think about what can be pre-made and what has to be made the day of. Also, figure out what prep work you can do a day or two before such as: cutting the stuffing, frying up any bacon or sausage, chopping any veggies, etc.

 

Tip #5 ~ Buy the aluminium casserole dishes for your sides! I always do this when I am the one having the meal, it saves on clean up after words! when the dish is empty I just throw it away, no clean up there! DO NOT, however, buy one of these for your turkey.. they are flimsy and the turkey is just too heavy, just don’t do it! =)

 

 

Tip #6 ~  Figure out what cooks when at what temp and how long. Write it down. Then yourself a list letting you know when to put what in the oven. This will help you stay on track so you don’t freak out!  =)

 

 

I hope you found this post helpful. I wanted to share a few tips to make the holiday less stressful! =)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. This post does, however, contain ads that I will receive comission for if clicked. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Pre-Thanksgiving Day Party! ~ Stuffing Recipe

stuffing

 

So I have decided to kick things of with my stuffing recipe. Every year that’s the one thing people say they crave the most. Once I show you this recipe you will be shocked by the simplicity of it! The question I get asked the most is how I achieve the flavor without sauteing onions and chopping celery? Well I’m about to let you in on my secret. Ok… Here we go, let me break it down for you

 

Ingredients:
2 loaves of white bread (the cheap store brand, that’s what I use)

1 tsp.  Sea Salt

4 pinches of ground celery seed ( It must be ground!)

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 sticks butter

 

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1.) Cut bread into small cubes.
Some people like to tear the bread, I find it much quicker to cut it…much quicker.

*** This is something that can be done 1 – 2 days in advanced. Cut the bread into cubes then place it back into the bread bag it came in, replace the twist tie and you can cross this off the Thanksgiving Day To-Do List!

 

2.) Before you get the turkey out you want to add your spices, you do not want the turkey sitting out of the fridge any longer than necessary! You want to be able to stuff the bird and through it straight into the oven.

– Adding the spices-

***  You want to use a very large bowl for this part. Place the cubed bread into the bowl and add the salt, pepper, & ground celery seed. Use your hands to toss so that spices are evenly distributed throughout the bread cubes.

 

3.) Now is time for the butter, this is the most important part, in my opinion.  Normally it takes about 1 stick of melted per loaf of bread. Here is the trick… and it’s important! Melt the butter in the microwave, slowly pour into the bowl of bread cubes. You want do not want it drenched in butter.. you want to be able to form the stuffing into a ball and have it stay, that means you have the right amount of butter.

stuffing 2

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4.)  Form your stuffing into balls and stuff them into the turkey. You want to press it in so you can get as much into the bird as possible. I had a 22 some pound bird and used about 3/4 of the stuffing made from 2 loaves of bread

stuffing 3

 

5.) Whatever stuffing that did not fit into the bird place into a grease casserole dish… It is hard for me to tell you what size because it just really depends on the size of the bird and how much excess stuffing you have. I did not have much so I used a very small one.

** This is an important tip! For the stuffing that is in the casserole dish, squirt a few basters full of the COOKED turkey juice  onto the stuffing. Just enough to moisten it slightly. This will give it that amazing turkey flavor. Bake stuffing in the oven for about 20 minutes, enough to warm it up. I just through it in when the turkey is almost finished.

 

There you have it, the secret is out! When the turkey comes out you will have a beautiful bird with with this glorious stuffing peaking out making your guest drool!

stuffing 5

Here is a photo of the meal all put together
thanks giving meal final

** Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. This post does, however, contain ads that I will receive commission for if clicked. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Granny’s Baked Beans

 

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Every family has a few people in it that are famous for certain recipes (at least I think). In my family it is my Granny’s Baked Beans, they are present at just about every get together and  getting the recipe was not as hard as I had thought. Maybe someday I will share with Duke how I squeezed this recipe out of Granny 😉  What are some famous recipes in your family, and who is famous for them??

 

Granny’s Baked Beans

1-  41 oz can of pork and beans &n (do not drain)

1- 16 oz can of pork and beans (do not drain)

1- 15.5 oz can of butter beans (drain about 3/4 of the water out of can)

2- 15 oz cans tomato sauce

3/4 of a 2 pound bag of brown sugar or about 24 oz. (we are famous for eye balling in my family, but this is what we figured it out to be)

1 pound of bacon ( cut bacon in half and fry.. do not crumble.( I’ts just how Granny does it )

1 pound of hot dogs sliced into coins.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a roaster, first, pour both cans of pork and beans(remember do not drain), pick out any chunks of fat that may be in them and dis-guard. Next add butter beans, drain about 3/4 of the water out of the can first. Add tomato sauce and brown sugar,stir everything together. Put in the oven uncovered. while beans are in the oven cut bacon in half an begin to fry it. Once bacon is finished place on a plate with a paper towel to drain excess grease. DO NOT throw away bacon grease, leave it in the pan and fry your hot dogs right in the bacon grease. Once hot dogs are dark brown and caramelized sit them on a plate with a paper towel to drain excess grease as well.  Once hot dogs and bacon are cool enough place them in the fridge until beans are finished. Cook baked beans at 375 degrees for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until they thicken. Once they are finished throw in cooked bacon and hot dogs. And there you have it Granny’s Famous Baked beans.. I will tell you what she told me while giving me the recipe… “this will be more of a course than a blessing because everyone will expect you to make them!”  maybe this is why she gave me the recipe and allowed me to post it to my blog 😉

Mac & Cheese

2 C. macaroni
1/2 bag mexican blend cheese
salt,pepper,garlic powder to taste
1/2 bag yellow mild cheddar cheese
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. Flour
5-6 slices bacon cooked & crumbled
1/2 C. Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 tsp parsley
3 Slices white Am.cheese halved
1 1/2 C milk
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 C shredded montery jack cheese
1/2 green pepper sauted
1/2 onion sautéed
1/2 red bell pepper sautéed

Directions:
cook macoroni according to package. Sauté peppers and onions with tsp butter till transluscent.set asside. In medium sauce pan over medium heat add milk,flour,montery jack cheese,garlic powder,salt, pepper, and ground mustard until melted. Add cooked macoroni to mixture and mix pour mixture in a greased 13×9 sprinkle with mild cheddar and mexican cheese. add white American slicecs evenly . Add sauted peppers and onions,bacon and bread crumbs evenly over the top. Place 5 small squares of butter over the top (about 1 tsp. in size).
BAKE: 350 for 25-30 mins.
helpful hints-
* saute peppers and onions ahead of time and freeze, pull out and use for many different recipes.
* COOK YOUR BACON IN THE MICROWAVE! This is much quicker then using a frying pan and no mess! lay 2 papper towels on microwave safe plate lay your bacon in single layer no more than 5 or 6 slices at a time,lay 2 more paper towels on top and cook for about 3 -4 minutes. This can also be crumbled and stored in the freezer for another recipe so making extra is certainly worth it!

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