Preparing for our Thanksgiving feast

gravy

Do you see that cool swirl from the steam off the gravy? No photoshop tricks here. I didn’t even know this happened until after I was reviewing the photos!

Here are links to the recipes I’ll be using for our Thanksgiving feast this year.

My meal will include:

turkey with gravy (for the gravy, the link will take you to the gravy I made from a roast chicken — same process for turkey gravy)

stuffing To save oven space for the bird, I now make the stuffing in a crock pot.

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vegetables

veggies

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

smashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

rolls

cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

apple pie (I will post the recipe for the pie pictured below very soon. Can’t believe I haven’t posted it yet!)

apple pie

pumpkin pie (I am not a huge pumpkin pie fan, though my husband and oldest son love it, so I use a can of organic pumpkin and follow the typical pumpkin pie recipe — pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves.)

pumpkin pie

chocolate pie (my daughter and youngest son will not eat apple or pumpkin pie … and I don’t mind one bit adding a chocolate pie to the menu!)

chocolate pie

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Here is a link to shortcuts I take to make my Thanksgiving meal easy and less work the day of the feast.

Thanksgiving prep

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To start the day I’ll serve baked French toast. Such a holiday favorite of mine!

baked french toast

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What items are on your Thanksgiving meal menu?

whole wheat dinner rolls

whole wheat dinner rolls

Happy Easter!

For our Easter meal today I cooked a ham and served it with orange mustard sauce, asparagus, sweet potatoes and sliced baked potatoes. Dessert will be a bunny cake.

I posted a slightly different version of these rolls last year. You can find that recipe here.  These are done the same, though the ingredients are slightly different. Delicious with the ham and veggies!

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Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Put ingredients into the bread machine in the following order:

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dry milk

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

whole wheat rolls (6)

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Set the bread machine to the DOUGH cycle.

When complete, remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Heat oven to 350F.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces.

Put a small amount of butter into each compartment of a 12-count muffin tin.

whole wheat rolls (4)

Place one piece of dough into each compartment.

whole wheat rolls (3)

Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm area for about 15 minutes. (The top of the oven was warm, so I put mine there.)

Remove the towel and bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes.

whole wheat rolls (2)

whole wheat dinner roll

dinner rolls

My family likes bread. We do. A lot. And especially when the bread is warm, right out of the oven … oh my … it’s heavenly.

Here’s our favorite recipe that my daughter makes often. In the recipe below it lists both regular flour and whole wheat flour, and we’ve always made them this way, but last week, on Thanksgiving, she thought we were out of wheat flour because I had put it in the wrong cabinet, so the rolls were made all with unbleached white flour. Either way, they taste wonderful!

*Note: The original recipe came from the cookbook that accompanied our bread machine. It listed the brown sugar, though we use honey 99.9% of the time. In the original instructions they say to put the rolls onto a greased cookie sheet, which works well, but we prefer the uniform shape we get by using the muffin tins.

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Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 80 degrees F)

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup honey (or brown sugar)

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons dry milk

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

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In the bread machine, place all the ingredients in the order listed above.

Set the machine to the dough cycle and start.

When completed, remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.

Using a sharp knife, divide the dough into 18 pieces.

Shape the pieces into balls or twists or blobs or whatever.

Place each piece into greased muffin tins.

Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (they should double in size).

Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until golden.

drop biscuits

Oh the joy!  The Joy of Cooking, that is.

Now back when I was a single lady (did Beyonce’s song just go through your head as well?) it was mandatory that all women out on their own who attempt to do anything in a kitchen need to own a copy of The Joy of Cooking. I had a roommate who was very much a do-as-your-momma-tells-you southern belle and she wouldn’t put on her ruffled apron until she had consulted her precious and stained copy. It was difficult for me to display my copy of this cookbook/reference book/kitchen bible next to hers on the shelf in our shared kitchen. Her copy had dried-on food in the pages, a ripped cover, bent pages, and was just overall yukky looking, while mine was pristine and had cute little sticky notes indicating recipes I liked to reference. It used to freak me out to even imagine her using my copy by mistake.

Decades have gone by and I don’t refer to this cookbook as often (and it is still in good condition, in case you were wondering). But one recipe I got out of that book, and that I use often, is for Drop Biscuits. These are simple to make and go well with creamed turkey, which I make a day or two after Thanksgiving every year. When I was growing up that meal was always a favorite of mine — almost more so than the main Thanksgiving day meal. Kudos to my mom who made it each year without fail. She had one happy daughter.

Now I have a daughter who couldn’t care less about the creamed turkey, but loves the drop biscuits. And good news, she volunteers to make them when she’s in the mood for biscuits! Double yahoo!

And more good news: You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving for these (but you knew that, right?). The other day I purchased two rotisserie chickens for the enchiladas which resulted in way more chicken than I needed for that recipe. So I cut up the remaining chicken and made creamed chicken with drop biscuits the next night.

Tomorrow’s recipe will be the creamed chicken. Make sure you come back to check it out!

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Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut up

1 cup milk

Heat oven to 450F.

In large deep bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl. Use a pastry blender (also known as a dough blender) to cut in the butter until the pieces of butter are all smaller than a pea. Add the cup of milk and stir with a fork, just until it all comes together. Use a serving spoon to “drop” the batter onto a greased cookie sheet (or use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper). This recipe yields 9 good sized biscuits, or you could make 12 smaller ones (if making the smaller ones, use a rounded tablespoon to get the correct size). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

after adding the milk and stirring with a fork

dry ingredients with butter incorporated into it using the pastry blender