Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Tradition, Tips, Tricks and a Recipe

So, Thanksgiving and I have had a secret (or not so secret) love affair going on for the past 6 years or so. Turkey Day and X-mas run a head-to-head constant competition for my affection, and Thanksgiving just might have the edge.

I made my first Thanksgiving dinner the year I moved to Delaware with my (now ex-) husband. It was delicious. I was hooked. I have since continued with successful dinners (with the exception of the infamous oven fire of ’05!! Story in a minute…) and wanted to share some tips and a fave recipe of mine!

When I divorced and moved back to Wisconsin (home), I wanted to make my own dinner, but my family was NOT planning on showing up. They go to Grandmas’ every year and that is just that. Fine. I don’t want to miss out on that either, so I go to Grandma’s on Thursday (and then to the man’s Aunts house in the evening…yep! TWO Dinners…yummy!)

Then FRIDAY after Black Friday shopping, I come home and make “The Day after Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving!” Some might call me nuts…why go through the work if I don’t have to?? But, I love everything about this holiday. I love the food, the smells, the colors, the time spent with family, the reminder to be thankful for your life…ahhh…Thanksgiving rocks my socks! And I adore our yearly tradition of spending a day with family, and then spending the next day with friends enjoying good food and each other's company!

So, on that note, I am going to share a couple tried and true Thanksgiving recipes, tips and tricks. But first…the oven fire.

November of 2005...I was up early and a cooking fool all day long. I had everything timed out so that our HUGE dinner would be done at of my better “skills” in cooking is timing out my stuff to all get done at the same time, and let me tell ya...I was ON!

We were bringing dinner over to the local church to eat with a bunch of friends. The kids were dressed and ready to go, the ex was bringing food out to the car, and I was finishing up in the kitchen...RIGHT ON TIME.

I pulled the rolls out of the oven...moved the sweet potatoes up to the top rack and set the oven to broil to brown the marshmallow stuff on top. As I'm tossing rolls in a basket, I smell burning marshmallow...ohhhh no!

I open the oven and I kid you not, my entire effing oven was ablaze. I about peed myself. I run out the door and yell for the ex to “COME BACK REALLY FAST" (LOL…I didn't want to scream "FIRE!!!!!!!" across the parking lot…) I remember him saying he could hear the panic in my voice.

He runs up, slams the oven door shut...I'm screaming that I already tried that...Luc's at the gate to the kitchen going "Oooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and pointing …it was bad. Ex grabbed the fire extinguisher, and emptied the WHOLE THING into the oven.

(As a side note, my grandpa would be so disappointed in me...before he retired he worked for Ansul (Tyco) Corp. traveling all over the world teaching businesses how to use different types of fire extinguishers. He taught us what to do when we were little kids, and like a total d-bag, I did nothing. I got a box of baking soda from him for Christmas that year…LMAO!)

So anyway, I later realized what happened…I was using throw away pans...they've oven safe...but they're CARDBOARD!!!!! Broiler lights the cardboard on fire, which lights the sweet potatoes on fire, which must’ve lit the coils on fire…and the rest is history. The oven was destroyed by the way. Super bummer.


TIP #1…if you’re using disposable pans, ONLY USE ALUMINUM! (OR…read the directions and don’t stick the cardboard pans under the broiler…whichever!)

TIP #2…Do you struggle to bake a perfectly golden turkey like you see in movies and on commercials? I am going to describe my turkey baking process to you. It hasn’t failed me yet, and I have yet to have a single Thanksgiving without people raving about my Turkey...both how it looks and how moist it stays.

Clean the turkey (I use a 20+ lb-er, for the record), don’t stuff it, put it in the pan, and brush it with an entire stick of melted butter. Bake per package directions, basting as you go. I KNOW…I know some people say not to baste...that it's "unneccessary". Well, “Some People” have not tried MY turkey. Baste it…often.

When the top starts to brown, tent it with aluminum foil until it’s done. After you take it out of the oven, let it sit a good 15-20 minutes before carving it. You won’t be sorry. :)

TIP #3…Get someone else to do the dishes! ;)

And, as promised, a recipe I LOVE.

I got this from a photographer friend and I make it every year...


1 package Uncle Ben’s Wild & Long Grain Rice (Original…not Quick)
2 Tbsp. Butter
½ cup Chopped Onion
½ lb. Bulk Pork Sausage – Cooked

1. Saute your rice in butter until the white rice turns light brown. Remove from pan.
2. Saute your onion in the pan until soft.
3. Stir in the seasoning packet from the rice, the browned rice and boiling water according to package directions, as well as the cooked sausage.
4. Pour into a baking dish and bake at covered at 350 for 45 minutes. You can then either use it as a stuffing (which I’ve never tried) or serve it as a side dish.

SO yummy! I hope every one of my readers has a beautiful holiday! I'll be back posting Friday or Saturday!!

See you then,



Maggie May said...

your enthusiasm is amazing!!! Happy Thanksgiving :)

Symone's Mommy said...

Great post. Have always loved rice dressing but wasn't sure what exactly to do. Will have to try your recipe. Thanks for checking out my Martha Stewart knockoff! Looks like we have a few things in common so following :) See you in Blogland.

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