For The Love Of Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!!

It’s been almost a week since my last post… I apologise profusely. But, with a sick me, sick hubby, and teething baby, it’s been a little tough to do much of anything.

Last night we had my best friend and her fiancé over for Thanksgiving dinner, even though we should have done it today. Since we visited hubby’s grandparents on Saturday, we wanted Monday to ourselves, so we moved the dinner to Sunday night. Anyways. Back to our amazing dinner.

Hubby always makes an amazing Thanksgiving meal. Seriously. I look forward to this dinner pretty much all year. And who could blame me? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries, and some amazing dessert to finish it off. Not to mention leftovers and turkey sandwiches! Makes me think of the abundant Hogwarts feasts (I’m re-reading the series as I just got the UK edition!).

I was going to share my review of yummy zucchini crisps, but I decided to give you a run-down of our feast instead. I also wasn’t planning on reviewing any recipes today, but the crisp I made just had to be included. This will be a long one, so grab a cup of tea and get comfy!

Unlike most things we make, we use some not-so-healthy boxed goods, but I figure once or twice a year should be ok (we do a similar dinner for Christmas if we’re home). I’m sure you all have some yummy traditional foods you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, but if you’re itching for a change, try one of our favourites. Now, where to start?

The Turkey: We have ordered our turkeys from the Tanjo Family Farm for a few years now, and they blow any other turkey we’ve had out of the water. Butterball has nothing on these guys. They’re a local farming family that sells their meats at the St Lawrence Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and we get pretty much all of our meats from them. If you ever get a chance to pop by on a Saturday morning, buy from them. Their sausages and bacon are out of this world, and every other cut of meat is phenomenal. Ok. Done with my plug (they didn’t ask for it, nor did anyone else. They’re just that good!). Back to the turkey.

This time we had a 13lb turkey, so he hung out in the oven at 325 for just over 4.5 hours. We had him tented for the first 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes, and let the skin brown and crisp up after that. One thing I’ve learned is that if the cooking time is, say, 4.5 hours, you won’t have a done turkey in that exact amount of time. The first time we did our timing calculations a few years back we didn’t add time to take the turkey out and baste it and all that, so we had cold potatoes and slightly overdone green beans. We fixed that issue since. The turkey came out juicy, delicious, with delectably crispy skin, and with great pan drippings for the gravy. I didn’t get a picture (I forgot!), but he was beautiful! We didn’t do much to the turkey; besides stuffing him with, well, stuffing, we buttered the skin, and that was it. In my opinion, if you have a good turkey, that’s all you need! 

Carved Turkey 

The Stuffing: I’d love to tell you that I make pure, 100% homemade stuffing. But I don’t. We buy the Kraft Stove Top stuffing in Turkey flavour and add ingredients from there (we don’t follow the box exactly as we have a great formula for a stuffing we think is amazing). We always do 4 boxes of stuffing, mostly because I can eat all of it by myself. For the stuffing, we melt 11tbsp of butter (Thanksgiving is a chance to indulge… And we don’t like margerine). To the butter we add 2 medium chopped white onions and cook until they are soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). While the onions cook, dump the contents of the 4 boxes into a massive bowl. We tear up 2/3 of a loaf of white bread (the regular WonderBread kind works well, and we’ve used stuffing bread or a French loaf too) and toss it into the bowl. Add just over 2 cups of lukewarm water (start with 2 cups and add more to get the right moistness) and mix well. Pour the butter and onions over your stuffing and continue mixing. Add poultry seasoning to taste (we do about 2-3 tsp) and continue mixing until everything is combined. If the stuffing is a bit too wet, tear up some more bread and mix it in; if it’s too dry, add some water. There you have it! Amazing stuffing! 

Stuffing 

Mashed Potatoes: Hubby likes to experiment with his mashed potatoes, and so every year he does something a little different with them. This year he did skin-on goat cheese mashed potatoes, and they were delicious! They were pretty simple to make, too. He did six white potatoes. He removed any eyes and blemishes, cubed them and boiled until fork-tender. He broke down the potatoe pieces with a potato masher. Then he added 3tbsp butter, 80g of soft unripened goat cheese, and about 1/3 cup of milk and mixed them with a hand mixer until they were creamy. And voila!

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes 
Green Beans: Hubby likes to do his green beans sautéed with butter and garlic. Again, this is a super-simple recipe that comes out delicious and satisfying. For a half-pound of green beans, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet. Add 2 small cloves of chopped garlic (about 1tsp) to the skillet and cook until fragrant. Add the green beans and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. The green beans should be crisp but warmed through. This is a dish even picky eaters will love.

Cranberries: This is another instance where I wish I could point you to some delicious, made-from-scratch recipe that I’ve been using, but I can’t. We buy the ever-popular Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, stick it in the fridge, and serve it chilled. Maybe next year I’ll make my own cranberry sauce (it’s hard to do much with a six-month-old that loves attention and is teething and cranky a lot).

Gravy: We make our gravy using pan-drippings from the turkey, the broth from boiling the neck and pope’s nose (we use this as the basting liquid), and the Club House Brown Gravy Mix. Once the turkey is out of the oven and resting (under a couple of towels to keep it warm, lucky duck!), we take all of the pan drippings, get rid of the fat, and mix them with some of the broth. We use 2 packages of the gravy mix so we use 2 cups of liquid total. Then we bring it to a boil over medium heat and let it thicken. Another simple recipe (and we all know the turkey is the star of the show anyways). Gravy 

Last but not least is dessert. I usually make an apple or pumpkin pie (I’ll get the recipes up eventually), but since I made an apple pie for our visit to Lindsay on Saturday, I decided to make hubby’s favourite: a strawberry rhubarb crisp. Specifically, this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from Creations by Kara. It’s amazing. I make a few small changes but that’s just for personal preference. The original recipe is actually perfect as is.

 Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp 
Yield:

  • Original Yield: 1 8in x 8in crisp, 8 servings
  • Actual Yield: 1 8in x 8in crisp, 4-6 servings (there’s No way to make this last in my house, apparently!)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: none given
  • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time:

  • Original Baking Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Actual Baking Time: 38 minutes (the same)

Notes or comments from the author:

  • As I mentioned above, I now modify this recipe to suit our tastes. I’m not a huge fan of rhubarb, so I use less of it (about 1/2 a pound, or just over 2 cups) and add extra strawberries (3-4 cups, or 1 1/2 pounds). Strawberries are juicier than rhubarb, so I use 4tbsp of cornstarch instead of 3. Everything else I keep the same.
  • The crisp topping Kara uses is the one I use for all of my crisps now, no matter the recipe. It is AMAZING and can be used for any filling.

Verdict: Success! This crisp recipe is gold. I actually printed out the crisp topping part so I never lose it, it’s that good.

 Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp 
Phew! Done and done! Dinner tonight will be leftovers (sans green beans… They all disappeared last night), and then we’ll be having turkey sandwiches (bread, mayo/miracle whip for hubby, turkey) for lunch the next day. There’s a reason I love Thanksgiving and it’s not only because of the extra day I get with hubby. And for my US friends, I’ll have some extra stuffing for you. It’s got nothing to do with how good it is, I just don’t want you to feel left out. You believe me, right?

This year, we have a beautiful bundle of wiggles to be thankful for. What are you celebrating?

** Please note, the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Creations by Kara or any other third party. Also, this post is not sponsored in any way by the brands mentioned and linked. I just want to share the products we love and use to make our meal easy but still special.

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