We are hosting a wee Thanksgiving celebration this year - the three of us and our next-door neighbors - for a grand total of five people. As much as I like planning the menu, cooking, all that, I want to make sure I'm available to visit and enjoy the day. I don't want to be chained to the kitchen stove all day, you know?
So, I've been thinking about the menu, what I can do ahead of time, all that. (Edit: I'm also adding the cost of each item, and whether it was home grown.) In my mind, we are having:
Turkey (bet you saw that coming, eh?) $3.90 (35 cents a pound!)
Stuffing (not in the bird, though) 84 cents including butter
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy home grown, about 20 cents for butter, flour, etc.
Green Bean Casserole grew the beans, 1.80 for other ingredients
Glazed Carrots grew the carrots, about 20 cents for butter, sugar, ginger
Corn free with a coupon
Cranberry Relish-y type thing grew the apple, bought the rest, $1.10
Rolls homemade from fresh-milled (bulk) wheat, about 45 cents
Pumpkin Pie homegrown pumpkin and eggs, about 40 cents for other ingredients
(Our neighbor is bringing) Shoofly Pie
add 25 cents for a stick of butter on the table (butter went on sale for $1/lb)
Total cost: $9.83 - let's say under $10!
* * * * *
EDIT: I forgot the whipped cream for the pie - so sorry! With a coupon, I got a can of Reddi Whip for 88 cents...bringing my total to $10.72. So, I went over $10...but it's still a really affordable Thanksgiving!
* * * * *
There is a lot that can be done ahead, or that takes very little time at the last minute. I'm going to do everything I can to keep next Thursday as simple as possible.
The stuffing that we like comes in a box. So, Stove Top it is! Simple, and done in almost no time at all. Woot!
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy both freeze (freeze them in separate containers!) very well. When they thaw, they look like a horrid mistake, but when you heat them up so that the potatoes are hot (do them in the microwave) and bring the gravy to a simmer (stovetop), it is all beautiful again. I have plenty of stock on hand that I can use to make the gravy in advance, so I'll be doing those pieces this weekend.
The carrots can be washed, peeled and sliced in advance. They hold very well raw as long as they are refrigerated. A quick steam, saute' them with butter-maple sugar-ginger - salt/pepper, and they are delish!
The corn I'm serving comes in a bag that you pop in the microwave. It steams in the bag. Nuke, let it sit a minute, peel the top off the bag and put it in a serving bowl. Best of all, it was free with the sale and coupons! Woot again!
The Cranberry Stuff is pretty much whole berry cranberry sauce, a cut up fresh orange, and you can add a chopped apple if you want. It can be made the night before - the acidity of the cranberry and the orange will keep the apple nice if it is used.
Rolls, if I do indeed make them (that's the one thing I'm still on the fence about) will very likely be made the day before. I bake on a regular basis, so this is no biggie.
The Pumpkin Pie can be made the day before (or Thursday morning) as well. In fact, I'll have to roast a pumpkin in advance - probably this weekend - so I have the pumpkin for the recipe. It freezes well, so I'll measure the cooked pumpkin so I can just thaw out a package of it for the pie.
Basically, I plan to make the mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin puree' this weekend, and freeze them.
Wednesday evening, I'll make pumpkin pie and rolls. I can prep the carrots and make the cranberry relish while the other stuff is in the oven.
The turkey will cook Thursday, of course. When it comes out of the oven, it needs to rest a bit, so it'll be juicier - that will give me time to put the green bean casserole in the oven, do the carrots and stuffing and heat up the corn, potatoes and gravy. Hopefully I can get this all orchestrated so that we eat hot food, on time! Seems like it'll work out just fine. :)
Are you hosting? Traveling? Eating pizza? What are your Thanksgiving Day plans and traditions? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear them!