It’s Planning Time!

Time to plan ahead, shop ahead, and cook ahead. The Holidays are almost here, so it’s time to get going in the kitchen.  So far, I’ve decided on my Thanksgiving menu, made a shopping list, and picked up a few items.

Turkeys were on sale for $.79/pound. I bought a small one and have already broken it down. I always cook one turkey in early November. No, I’m not crazy, and no, we don’t love turkey all that much! I cook the first turkey for the broth. It bothers me to make my Cornbread Dressing and Bread Stuffing with chicken broth. I’ll get those two sides made ahead and save the remaining broth for our Gravy and maybe some sort of turkey soup.  After I make the broth with them, the meat from the legs, thighs, and wings will go into the freezer for now, and we’ll have the breast Roasted  or maybe Smoked  for dinner tonight and sandwiches later.

My next task will be to make a batch of Iron Skillet Cornbread and White Wheat Biscuits for the dressing, then let them get stale for a few days before throwing that together.  Hard boiled eggs don’t freeze well, so I’ll stir those in right before the dressing goes into the oven. While the corn bread and biscuits are going stale I’ll let the bread for the stuffing get stale as well. I’ll chop all the veggies for both dishes at the same time. Two menu items will be in the freezer, ready to thaw out on the day before Turkey Day.

None of us really favor the dark meat, so I’m waiting for frozen turkey breasts to go on sale.  I prefer frozen because I know that turkey was probably frozen as soon as it was killed.  With a fresh turkey I don’t really know how long it’s been.  I’ll have to remember to move the turkey into the refrigerator in time for it to thaw, then the day before I’ll soak it in Brine. Using a probe thermometer will insure a perfectly cooked turkey breast.

I divide my shopping list into three portions:  Staples and dry goods that can be purchased any time go on the first list.  Fresher Items will be purchased closer to the day they will be cooked.  I try to avoid the grocery stores the week of Thanksgiving, so my last list, usually things I’ve added or forgotten, is limited to ten items.  Ten items because that’s usually how many items are allowed in the express lane, and yes, I do count.  One of my pet peeves is that person who jumps into the express lane with fifteen items.  You know who you are, and you are not the only person in the store who is in a hurry or has a small child or is just too special to wait!  Enough said.

I’m still playing with my electric pressure cookers.  Our Halloween dinner tradition has always been Chili, and the multi-cooker did an excellent job with that. White Chicken Chili turned out just as well. I also made up a pot of Cajun style red beans, but left out the andouille sausage for Meatless Monday. Someone in this house turned up his nose at that, but I won’t name any names. That same person surely hasn’t had a problem with my Pressure Cooker Cheesecake. Go figure!

Be thankful for what life gives you.

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