I have to apologize to the 5 of you who were patiently waiting for the results of my thanksgiving planning, but I am pleased to report it was a complete success! The turkey came out right on time (although I had to put the legs back in for another 10 minutes), and the salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and green bean casserole was all ready for our target of 2pm.
I ended up reducing the salt in the brine by half and starting it at about 11pm the night before. I didn’t really want to get up at 5am… Don’t worry, I used a brand new bucket from Home Depot, although there were originally concerns about whether or not my bucket had previously contained mortar or drywall mud. I promise, it didn’t.
The Turkey turned out really well, just about perfect. The final preparation included smothering the breast in butter, cooking it for an hour breast side down and then flipping it. I’ll have a blog up on it separately sometime soon.
One of my biggest concerns during meal prep was my dog, Angus. Angus is a 5’11″ Great Dane whom can easily reach the counter top. With all the delicious food around, I was a bit nervous he’d knock me over to get to the Turkey resting on the counter, or the stuffing as for some reason he seems to be a huge fan of bread. I spend extra for a grain free diet, but maybe I’m wasting my money.
Turns out the perfect remedy for a Great Dane are my nephews. Ryan and Jack both love Angus, and Ryan was kind enough to keep him entertained in the basement when he wasn’t helping me in the kitchen.
While not entertaining the dog, I was a bit concerned about my 2 nephews and how we would keep them entertained for the 2 hours it would take to finish the meal. Mindy came up with a brilliant idea while we were making our final grocery shopping trip on Friday for the last minute details (I promise I was going to remember the Fried Onions eventually!). The grocery store had Gingerbread House kits, which worked out well for Jack & Ryan and the grandparents! It quickly turned into a competition to see who could build the best house.
I highly recommend covering the table with the spare cardboard boxes laying around from your Ikea binge purchasing habits, if you’re anything like me. Mom and Dad each picked a partner and built some awesome gingerbread houses. I was definitely impressed with their ability to not only wrangle the kids, but make sure the candy actually ended up on the house and no one’s dinner was spoiled.
Everything turned out great, and for my first Thanksgiving I’m definitely quite relieved. I was a bit nervous going into it, but with proper planning and strategy, even the most complex meal, like any web project, becomes a series of small, easy to accomplish tasks. Everything was done within 5 minutes of each other, and we were plating right at 2pm. I don’t think I could have planned it any better.
Look for follow up blogs to my specific recipes for Turkey, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and the 100% made from scratch stuffing. While I was afraid I may have been biting off more than I could chew (ha!), everything turned out great. The leftovers made a great Turkey Pot-Pie that I’ll share as well.