I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is just eight days away. Oh, how quickly the world-altering year of 2020 has passed … and that is all I will write about the adverse events and circumstances that have occurred since March. Because Thanksgiving is the time of year we are supposed to focus on our blessings, we should try to acknowledge that we have many things for which we should praise the Lord. We may enjoy every day more if we adopt attitudes of gratitude, share of ourselves and actively care for others as much as possible. Support and encourage your family members, friends and even strangers as often as God gives you an opportunity.
That expressed, I am offering you an option for a Thanksgiving Day menu so you may hurry to your local grocer and shop before all of the best turkeys have been chosen. The turkey baking method here is the easiest I have found, but for it to result in a perfect turkey you must observe the “no peek” rule. The stuffing/dressing and remainder of the meal lineup is easy to follow.
Next week I will share another Thanksgiving menu lineup. But for now I will share the greatest idea for us all -- that between now and Thanksgiving and maybe until the end of this year -- that we all make it a point to take time each day to write down a few things for which we are grateful.
Delicious 'no peek' roasted turkey
(This roasted turkey takes about 20 minutes to prepare and approximately 7 hours to “cook.” You only actually bake it for an hour at precisely 500 degrees, but then you turn the oven off and leave it shut tightly until the oven cools completely – four to six hours. It yields 10 to 12 servings.)
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
A 12- to 15-pound turkey, completely thawed and giblets removed from cavity
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 stalks celery, cut in lengths to fit in the turkey cavity
1 medium sweet onion, cut in half
2 large cleaned carrots, cut in lengths to fit in the turkey cavity
2 cups boiling water
Adjust your oven racks so that the covered roasting pan will easily fit inside. Try not to put the pan on the very lowest rack setting as the burner element will be 500 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
First, rub the butter on the outside and in the cavity of the turkey. Sprinkle and gently rub the salt and pepper on the inside and the outside of the turkey. Put the pieces of celery, onion and carrot in the cavity. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the boiling water into the very bottom of the pan, being certain not to splash the seasoned turkey. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put the pan in the oven.
Start a timer when the oven temperature returns to 500 degrees. Bake the turkey at 500 degrees for exactly one hour and turn off the oven. IMPERATIVE NOTE: Do not open the oven door for any reason! Leave the turkey in the oven until the oven completely cools ... four to six hours. When the oven has completely cooled, immediately reserve or use the juices from the pan to make gravy.
Cornbread and bacon stuffing
4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
1 cup chopped celery (or 1/2 cup)
1 cup chopped onion
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (regular)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
3 cups dry bread cubes
1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, cook chopped bacon, celery and onion over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the vegetables are tender. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, Mrs. Dash, poultry seasoning and pepper. Add crumbled cornbread and bread cubes. Toss lightly until the ingredients are evenly combined. Add the bacon mixture. Drizzle these ingredients with enough of the broth to moisten well, tossing lightly until mixed. Use this stuffing to stuff one 8- to 10-pound turkey. **If you prefer your stuffing “unstuffed,” or as “dressing,” put the stuffing mixture into a well-buttered casserole dish. Bake it, covered, at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the cover and let the top brown for about 5 to 10 minutes. This recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.
Okra-bacon fried rice
(This excellent recipe is from Carolyn W. Mizzell.)
6 slices of bacon
4 cups fresh okra, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups cooked rice
In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. In the bacon drippings, fry the okra, stirring occasionally. After about five minutes, add the onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for about five more minutes. When the okra is soft and onions are browned, pour in the cooked rice and crumble the bacon into the mixture. Cook on medium-low, stirring or "tossing" constantly until the rice is slightly fried. If you give it a try you may find that this is a delicious alternative to other rice dishes.
(This scrumptious recipe is from Betty N. Chinners.)
8 medium yellow squash
1 large Vidalia or yellow onion, sliced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 3-quart casserole dish. Wash the squash and cut it into 2-inch cubes. Combine with the onions in a saucepan and cook in a little salted water, boiling for about 10 minutes or just until tender. Use a colander to drain the vegetables well, and arrange them in the prepared casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, pepper, milk, butter, salt, crumbs and half of the cheese. Stir thoroughly, and pour this mixture over the squash and onions. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Bake this casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
2 (15-1/2 ounce) cans chunk pineapple, drain, save the juice
1 cup sugar (or equivalent amount of Stevia sweetener)
1/3 cup self-rising flour
2 cups medium or mild Cheddar cheese, grated
1 stick butter, melted
1 stack of Ritz crackers
In a medium bowl, stir the pineapple juice, sugar and flour together and then add the pineapple. Pour this mixture into a lightly buttered 12-inch casserole dish and sprinkle cheese on top. Saute the crushed Ritz crackers in the melted butter and then sprinkle this mixture on top of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This recipe makes six or eight servings.
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