Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mostly Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner

Hate to be cooking ALL day when you are expecting company??? If you have a roaster you can make a mostly make ahead YUMMY Thanksgiving dinner:

I cleaned this up so you can just click the link to take you to each recipe. It got WAY too long and confusing the way it was before!!

Saturday before:(sooner or later depending on your free time)
Pumpkin Rolls---this one is the most time consuming but thankfully can be made and frozen very early!

Allow to cool to room temp and freeze them(I pile them loosely in a cake pan cover with plastic wrap then a layer of heavy duty foil)

Make a loaf of white bread and leave it out  to make it stale for stuffing. ( You can use store bread, just make sure it is a good quality sturdy bread)

Wednesday :

Brine your Turkey

Make your Cheesecakes:
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cranberry Cheesecake

Southern Comfort Sweet Potatoes

Dont bake them , just cover with plastic wrap, pop in fridge. Remove at least 30 minutes prior to reheat.

Also Wednesday Peel and Boil Approx 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes until fork tender but not mushy
and take pumpkin rolls out of the freezer

Thursday Morning:
now here is where it starts to vary in times. I use a 22 qt roaster for my turkey(and it is NOT stuffed) which means I have a free oven. Your reheat times may vary so I am just going to give recipes and APPROX times.
I get my bird in about 10 am at 325 (planning dinner 3-4) if the bird is done sooner I turn the heat down low.

Before you get your turkey in you can do the rest of the prep work:

Gourmet Green Bean Casserole

Apple-Bread Stuffing
Grab that stale bread and get this one going.....premake it and add the chicken broth last minute

Cream Cheese Fruit Salad
here is an easy one, no reheating necessary. Whip it up and toss it in the fridge.

Best Mashed Potatoes
Grab the taters you cooked yesterday. I chunk them then heat them up in the microwave for a minute or two then just start at step two......

This can be made last minute OR you can make them up put them in a casserole dish and heat with everything else...cover with foil and allow an hour or so for them to heat(again bring it to room temp, about 30 minute before heating)

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce
This one is also optional make ahead(even Wed if you want) or last minute depending on if you want it hot or cold.

And the Main Dish

Roasted Turkey with Bourbon-Butter Glaze

Remove your turkey from the brine solution, pat it dry and allow to air dry for 30 minutes.

You can follow the cooking recipe on the Brine page but this one is our favorite for thanksgiving!

brined 16-18 lb turkey
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons snipped fresh marjoram or 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup bourbon
Fresh herbs (optional)
Kumquats (optional)

For glaze, combine butter, brown sugar, marjoram, and lemon peel in a small mixing bowl. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using your fingers, separate turkey skin from breast meat, being careful not to tear skin or pierce meat. Spread about half of the glaze over the breast meat under the skin. Melt remaining glaze; cool slightly. Stir in bourbon. Brush mixture over outside of turkey. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a short skewer. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin that crosses the tail. If there isn't a band, tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of an inside thigh muscle. The thermometer bulb should not touch bone.

Place 2 cups of brining solution and all the veggies from it in the bottom of the roaster, add in another cup or so of chicken stock. Then add the turey.

Roast at 325 degree F  for 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours(depending on your bird size) or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F. After 3 hours, cut the skin or string between drumsticks. Turkey is done when drumsticks move very easily in their sockets and their thickest parts feel soft when pressed. Remove turkey from roaster and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

In a sauce pan melt 2 TB butter and whisk in 6 TB flour until crumbly slowly add approx 2 cups of the liquid drippings and 2 cups chicken stock....salt and pepper to taste Heat and whisk to boiling and boil for 2 minutes....

If you get up a little early all this stuff can be done before you even get your Turkey in the roaster! Then you can clean up, and enjoy your company and just pop things in the oven when you are ready. Make SURE you take the stuff to be heated out of the fridge to come to room temp or your reaheat times will be ALOT longer(and things get cripsy on the edges!)
Dont forget to heat the pumpkin rolls too! It may take some awesome tertis skills but everything should fit in your oven if you take note of you dish sizes while you are prepping, also check things often and move them around as necessary(like from top bottom rack to top rack) since the oven is so full the heat WILL be uneven.
Everything should be heated at 350!

We also add in a spinach and strawberry salad. That can be made whenever you please!(Sorry I dont have personal pics of that!)

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