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THE PERFECT THANKSGIVING

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THE PERFECT THANKSGIVING
THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS DINNER
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GINGERBREAD HOUSE PARTY
HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE
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HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM YOUR KITCHEN
LETTER FROM SANTA
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A Bountiful Thanksgiving Day Feast

This flavorful spread starts with traditional Thanksgiving favorites and adds little sparks of flavor excitement and eye-catching touches to make your Thanksgiving Day gathering extra-special. Make It Special!

Festive Place Cards

Cut a slit across the top (in front of the stems) of miniature pumpkins. Write the name of each guest on a small card, and place it in the slit of each pumpkin (the stem will help hold it up). Or instead of cutting slits in the pumpkins, secure each card to the pumpkin with a T-shaped pin. Place each place card on a pressed leaf near each place setting.

Fall Harvest Centerpiece

Scatter colored leaves down the center of your table, and place votive candles in glass containers on leaves. Arrange small and miniature pumpkins and gourds (from roadside stands, garden centers or grocery stores) along with whole nuts and fruits, such as apples and kumquats, down the center of your table.

Dazzling Pie Decorations

Decorate the apple pie with colorful apple pastry cutouts. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the pastry dough before rolling out crusts. Roll the reserved dough 1/8 inch thick, and cut with a small apple-shaped cookie cutter. Just before baking pie, brush the bottoms of the pastry cutouts with egg white, and place them on the top of the pie. Beat an egg, and divide between 2 small bowls. Add a few drops of red food color to one bowl (for the apples) and green food color to the other bowl (for the stems). Paint the colored egg mixtures on the pastry cutouts with a clean small paintbrush.

Dessert Sampler

Suggest a sampler of pie (half pieces of each kind) to those guests who can't make up their minds! Make dessert a showstopper by serving the pieces pointed in opposite directions atop plates drizzled with caramel sauce. Top the pumpkin pie with a dollop of Vanilla-Cinnamon Cream.

Up to 2 Months Before

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Double-Quick Dinner Rolls

No need to knead! This magical recipe gives you piping-hot yeast rolls without the work (or mess) of having to knead the dough.

2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 package active dry yeast

1cup very warm water (120F to 130F)

2 tablespoons shortening, 1egg

1. Mix 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add water, shortening and egg; beat with spoon until smooth. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape batter from side of bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.

2. Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups. Stir down batter by beating about 25 strokes. Spoon into muffin cups. Let rise 20 to 30 minutes or until batter rounds over tops of cups.

3. Heat oven to 400F. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. cool. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. Makes 1 dozen

Up to 5 Days Before

Thaw turkey.

About Poultry & Game

Thawing Poultry

Frozen cooked and uncooked poultry can be thawed safely in the refrigerator, in cold water or in your microwave. Here are some general thawing guidelines:

Never thaw chicken or turkey at room temperature on your countertop because these temps provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

If you bought frozen poultry or fresh poultry and froze it the day you bought it, it will keep in the fridge for 2 days after thawing.

On the other hand, if you kept the fresh poultry 2 days in the refrigerator before freezing it, make sure you use it the same day you thaw it.

Thawing (Refrigerator Method)

Thaw frozen uncooked chicken or turkey gradually in the refrigerator.

Place poultry in a dish or baking pan with sides to keep it from leaking on refrigerator shelves while it thaws.

Also see Poultry Thawing Chart.

Thawing (Cold Water Method)

Place frozen uncooked poultry, in its original wrap or in a resealable heavy-duty plastic bag, in cold water.

Allow 30 minutes per pound to thaw, and change the water often to make sure it stays cold.

If you're not going to use the poultry immediately, store it in the refrigerator (see Kitchen Tips from Betty-Storing Poultry); do not refreeze.

Thawing (Microwave Method)

Frozen uncooked and cooked poultry can be thawed in the microwave oven following the manufacturer's directions.

Thawing Cooked Poultry

Thaw frozen cooked poultry gradually in the refrigerator.

Allow approximately 3 to 9 hours for 1 pound of cubed, chopped or shredded poultry.

Allow up to 24 hours for whole pieces (bone-in or boneless).

The Day Before

prepare:

Parmesan Walnuts

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon hickory smoked salt or seasoned salt

1 1/2 cups broken walnuts

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350F. Heat butter and hickory smoked salt in square pan, 9x9x2 inches, in oven 2 to 3 minutes or until butter is bubbly. Stir in walnuts; bake uncovered 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; toss until walnuts are evenly coated. Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until cheese is light brown; cool. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

 

Cook bacon for Cheesy Broccoli, drain and crumble. Cover and refrigerate

 

 

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PREPARE

Scrumptious Apple Pie

This apple pie is a classic, from the scrumptious filling to the flaky pastry crust. It is homemade goodness at its very best.

Double-Crust Pastry (See Below)

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cupall-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1. Heat oven to 425F. Prepare Double-Crust Pastry.

 2. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Stir in apples. Turn into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

3. Roll other round of pastry. Fold into fourths and cut slits so steam can escape. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired. Cover edge with 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.

4. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Serve warm if desired.

Double-Crust Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening

4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary). Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half and shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened rounds of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling. Roll one round on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sidestore loosely covered at room temperature

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PREPARE

  Tempting Pumpkin Pie

You, too, can make homemade pumpkin pie! Continue the holiday tradition with this easy recipe.

Best Flaky Pastry (See Below)

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1. Heat oven to 425F. Make Best Flaky Pastry--except cut scraps of rolled pastry with tiny leaf-shaped cookie cutter instead of fluting edge of pie crust. Sprinkle cutouts with sugar; press on pastry edge.

2. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in remaining ingredients.

3. To prevent spilling, place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack. Pour filling into pie plate. Bake 15 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 4 hours or until chilled. Immediately refrigerate any remaining pie after serving.

Best Flaky Pastry

1cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary). Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.. Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired cover and refrigerate

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About 6 Hours Before

Prepare

  Herb-Scented Roast Turkey with Corn Bread Stuffing Rosemary, sage and garlic enhance an American Thanksgiving favorite. Served with herb-scented corn bread stuffing, the fragrant flavor is complete!

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, crumbled

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves, crumbled

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 whole turkey 12 pounds, thawed if frozen

Corn Bread Stuffing (See Below)

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Heat oven to 325F. Mix rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and garlic; rub into turkey skin.

2. Prepare Corn Bread Stuffing for stuffing in turkey or baking in casserole. (See Betty's Tips for casserole baking directions.) Stuff turkey just before roasting, not ahead of time. To bake stuffing in turkey, fill wishbone area lightly with stuffing. Fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Fold wings across back with tips touching. Fill body cavity lightly. (Do not pack--stuffing will expand while cooking.) Tuck drumsticks under band of skin at tail, or tie together with heavy string, then tie to tail.

3. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with butter. Do not add water. Place meat thermometer in thickest part of inside thigh muscle so thermometer does not touch bone.

4. Roast uncovered 4 to 5 hours, brushing with pan juices every 30 minutes, until thermometer reads 180F and juice of turkey is no longer pink when center of thigh is cut. Thermometer placed in center of stuffing will read 165F when done.

5. Place aluminum foil loosely over turkey when it begins to turns golden. When turkey is two-thirds done, cut band of skin, or remove string or skewer holding legs. When turkey is done, place on warm platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let stand about 20 minutes for easiest carving. While turkey is standing, prepare Foolproof Gravy if desired.

6. To serve, garnish turkey with fresh herb sprigs. Cover and refrigerate any remaining turkey and gravy separately.

Corn Bread Stuffing

1/2 cup butter or margarine

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup chopped onion

9 cups 1/2-inch cubes corn bread or soft bread

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook celery and onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender; remove from heat. Stir together celery mixture and remaining ingredients in large bowl.

Remove rolls from freezer

 

About 35 Minutes Before

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PREPARE

Velvet Mashed Potatoes

They taste just like they sound-creamy, smooth and velvety!

12 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces (4 pounds)

3/4 to 1 cup milk

1/2 package (8-ounce size) cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat 1 inch water (salted if desired) to boiling in Dutch oven. Add potatoes. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 30 to 35 minutes or until tender; drain. Shake pan with potatoes over low heat to dry.

2. Mash potatoes in large bowl until no lumps remain. Beat in milk in small amounts, beating after each addition (amount of milk needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on kind of potatoes used). Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. Place in Dutch oven and cover with salted water until ready to cook.

Cut broccoli for Cheesy Broccoli.

Wash greens for Mixed Greens with Parmesan Walnuts.

 

About 20 Minutes Before

Heat rolls in aluminum foil in 325F oven until hot

foolproofgravy.jpg

prepare:

Foolproof Gravy

Add this recipe to your collection, and you won’t need to worry when it’s your turn to host a turkey-and-gravy dinner!

1/4 cup turkey drippings (fat and juices from roasted turkey)1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups liquid (juices from roasted turkey, broth, water)Browning sauce, if desired

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Pour drippings from roasting pan into bowl, leaving brown particles in pan. Return 1/4 cup drippings to roasting pan. (Measure accurately because too little fat makes gravy lumpy.) Stir in flour. (Measure accurately so gravy is not greasy.)

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in a few drops of browning sauce. Stir in salt and pepper.

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Mixed Greens with Parmesan Walnuts

An easy-to-make, "dressed-up" salad that is sure to impress!

Parmesan Walnuts (See above)

1 medium head lettuce

1 medium bunch leaf lettuce

1/2 small bunch curly endive

6 ounces fresh spinach

1/3 to 1/ cup oil-and-vinegar dressing

Tear greens into bite-size pieces (about 12 cups). Toss with dressing until greens are well coated. Toss with Parmesan Walnuts.

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Cheesy Broccoli

This veggie-laden comfort food is calling your name! With only 3 ingredients, it’s a snap to prepare.

3 pounds broccoli

12 ounces process cheese spread loaf, shredded

1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1. Cut thick broccoli stems lengthwise into fourths. Heat 1 inch water (salted if desired) to boiling. Add broccoli. Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat.

2. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until stems are tender; drain. Arrange half of the broccoli in serving dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bacon; repeat. drain and crumble. Cover and refrigerate.