I just went to the store today and picked up a frozen 15lb Butterball turkey. I really hope it thaws out in time. It should. I've done this for years now and yet every year I compulsively check and re-check all the turkey calculators for size recommendations and cooking times. There was a woman there frantically tossing them around in the freezer looking for a 24lb turkey. That would take even longer to thaw so I'm pretty sure I'm good.
I've been cooking Thanksgiving since I was probably about 20. It all started because my dad saw me cooking dinner for a boyfriend one day and said, "How come you never cook for me?, I see how it is." And so, out of guilt, uh I mean love, I decided I would attempt to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the family. I watched an episode of Emeril doing a spicy Cajun pepper stuffed turkey with boudin stuffing. I made roasted garlic mashed potatoes from scratch for the very first time and threw in lots of cheese just for fun. I don't remember what else I made but I remember my family raving about it and telling me it was the best turkey they ever had and that I was now in charge of Thanksgiving from here on out.
It was step one of turning into my grandmother - equating the amount of your food that everyone eats with how much they love you.
By the way, I have also achieved step two - constantly asking how it is and offering more and more when they've already said NO THANK YOU a thousand times. (Step three is getting upset when they say no. I have to stop myself at this point and remember not to take it personally. Their stomach is only so big and it's rude to unbutton their pants at the table.)
Anyway, ever since then it's like I'm in a contest to top myself from the year before. I spend hours online looking at all of the recipes to see if I want to change anything, and then a few more hours laying out my grocery list and my timeline (which never seems to work out because I always end up with no makeup on, and so hungry I snap at anyone who wants to take pictures of the food and family.) But this year is different. This year, I have a baby so I had to let go and ask for help. I assigned the mashed potatoes to my mother, dessert to my great aunt, and I decided to nix the candied yams. Too many carbs anyway. I'm determined to have my hair and makeup done, clean the house before hand, get the table set the night before, and have a stress free Thanksgiving. And so, after much deliberation...here is my menu:
-I'm going rogue on the turkey and trying a combination of two Emeril recipes. There will be lots of butter and cayenne pepper involved. This is a big deal for me people. I usually don't color outside the lines.
-Paula Deen's Good Old Country Stuffing - it has rice in it!!! Asians and rice...mmmmm, rice.
-Giblet Gravy - I'll make this ahead of time instead of fussing over the drippings just before dinner.
-Fresh Cranberry Compote - it's amazing, it has orange and lemon zest in it.
-Paula Deen's Fancy Green Beans - they come out a little sweet and crunchy with bacon and cashews.
-Mom's Mashed Potatoes
-Dessert is going to be a surprise!
In case you're interested, all recipes are on FoodNetwork.com and there are great instructional videos on everything from trussing the turkey to carving it. Have fun cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!