Tag: Stuffing

Preparing Bread for Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing

I’m prepping for roasting my turkey tomorrow, ahead of Thursday. This allows me to make the gravy and slice the turkey, get all the turkey packaged and into the refrigerator, only having to re-heat turkey in gravy for Thursday’s dinner. That means having all the other time on Thursday to make the rest of the meal.

Wednesday is Pie day. Tradition.

Today I am making onion bread, egg bread, and whole grain spelt bread. Currently onion bread is in the oven, egg bread is on it’s last bowl rise, and spelt whole grain is soaking in buttermilk.


Onion Bread in the oven

Onion Bread in the oven


Egg Bread Rising in Bowl

Egg Bread Rising in Bowl


Whole Grain Spelt & Whole Grain Spelt Flour in Buttermilk

Whole Grain Spelt & Whole Grain Spelt Flour in Buttermilk


What is all this bread for? Stuffing the turkey, of course! I love stuffing. In The Bird Stuffing is heaven.

I usually put raisins in it, sometimes walnuts too. Start with onion and celery in butter, then add rubbed sage, oh the scents are incredible! Chicken stock, some sea salt, a couple of eggs (wisked in), any other things I want added, then the bread sliced into cubes and added, mixed around, stuffed into the bird, rest into a casserole.

Thanksgiving Prep 2012 Wed afternoon

Update on the turkey

The new Turkey, Free Range

Yes, a Free Range fresh Turkey. Big enough at 17 some pounds.

I have another turkey in the freezer for later. πŸ™‚

So I’ll be roasting the turkey soon. Prep for stuffing under way:

Bread Cubes for Thanksgiving Stuffing

and

Onion, Celery, Butter

Pies later.

Thanksgiving Prep 2012

It’s the holiday season!

Christmas Cactus getting ready to bloom

Today I need to do some more preparations for the upcoming holiday. Wow! That’s tomorrow! I haven’t done as much as I had wanted to by now. I have a totally non-me turkey.

Frozen Turkey

I didn’t get one pre-ordered, hubby was going to and didn’t. He got me a frozen turkey from Earth Fare. Not my thing, de-frosting a turkey.

I want Organic Pastured Fresh Turkey’s. They are find-able, in grocery stores or off the farm. Just have to get one. That fell off of my radar that it wasn’t something to easily get. I figured I was safe. Well, next time I’ll order from the net.

I made a nice loaf of white spelt bread yesterday. That will be used for the stuffing (in the bird.) I’ll also use apple and raisins, celery, sage, onion, sea salt, eggs, and chicken stock.

I actually like roasting the turkey ahead, slicing and packaging away in the fridge. Making the gravy at the same time, containers filled and into the fridge as well. On the day I put gravy and turkey into casserole dishes, then into a warm oven until hot. Other gravy gets hot on the stove in a saucepan. The stuffing re-heats in casserole dishes in the oven too.

That’s what I usually try to do. I don’t think it’s going to work that way, well, not sure. I’m not in the MOOD to roast that turkey today, might as well wrestle with it tomorrow.

Eggnog. My best friend in the holiday season. Spiked or not.

Two Kinds of Eggnog

I should make the pies today. I try to usually get the turkey stuff done on a Monday or Tuesday, then the pies the day before. Usually that feels great. Most of the weighty tasks done already, freedom to make the pies without the worry of turkey wrestling. That is not my lot this year. I have much work in my future.

So other things to make are Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Glorified Cauliflower. Those are all done on Thanksgiving Day. What Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t complete though without Cranberry Sauce? I just prefer this cool tangy smooth stuff.

Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce

So I probably won’t sleep well the night before, that’s tonight. Great. πŸ™

Roast Chicken & Stuffing

I’m roasting two organic chickens right now, stuffed with white spelt bread stuffing.

The stuffing is my own recipe.

I made a loaf of bread in my Cuisinart bread machine on Friday for this purpose. 3+ cups of White Spelt Flour, 1 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. Honey, 1 egg, 1 tsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. butter. I added more flour as needed for the dough. I used the 1. White Bread setting, med. loaf size and med. browning.

The loaf was perfect, so much so I wished I had made it for sandwiches, but so it goes.

I’ll try to make it again and get the same result for other uses later.

I cubed the bread using a bread knife after the loaf cooled down, then put the cubes into a gallon freezer bag. I put that into a deep drawer until I needed it for the stuffing.

Today I diced 1 sweet onion, melted 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter in a large saucepan, added the onion and let that simmer until softened. I also put in some celery seed (I guess about 2 tsp.) and a lot of dried rubbed Sage (1/4 cup or more!) then the bread cubes and a pint of Chicken Stock. Stirred it around well.

A little more than half of that fit into the chickens. The rest will be baked in a casserole dish later.

I didn’t add any salt to the stuffing since the bread was nice bread and I used commercial Organic Chicken Stock. To the out of the bird stuffing I did just add a little bit of sea salt, and a large handful of raisins and half an apple chopped. That’ll bake until it’s done.

I’ll make chicken gravy using more Organic Chicken Stock, butter & flour, and sea salt to taste. Basmati Rice, and either peas or green beans.

We’ll also have white spelt yeast rolls, thanks to my daughter taking over that duty. She does an excellent job making clover leaf rolls, as I used to do when I was a teenager too. πŸ™‚

Two days until Thanksgiving – Prep Plan

Today is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2011. The day after T-day is a birthday, my daughter will be 13!

Today I need to make the stuffing, then stuff the Free Range Organic Fresh Turkey (15+ lbs.) and roast it in my Electrolux oven on Perfect Turkey setting with the probe.

Then start the gravy making a roux or two (light and dark, for instance) and finish it after the turkey is done, taking the drippings and using chicken stock.

The stuffing will go into freezer bags, then into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (It’ll be heated in Corning Ware French White casserole dishes with lids or foil over the top in the oven.)

The Free Range Organic ROASTED Turkey will be allowed to cool, then it will be carved and the different types of parts will be put into Food Saver bags and processed (vacuum sealed) and put into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (The turkey slices, (and chunks) will be put into different oven vessels with gravy (covered) to be heated in the oven.)

More gravy will be heated on the stove top (I make lots and lots of gravy for this holiday!)

Tomorrow will be Wednesday, and that is Pie Day. I try to always make the pies the day before. I need to rummage up all my pie dishes and figure out if I need a new one or now. My grandma’s pie plate broke a few years ago. It was one of the worst days of my life. It was an 8-inch wide Fire King – so pretty, deep dish, and so historical for me: it was my grandmas from way back. She died in the early 70’s, it was hers for I don’t know how long, but I’d always known it. It just suddenly fell apart one day (not on it’s own, mind you.) It wasn’t treated right at that time, dropped by someone not authorized to touch it. Anyhow, it broke horribly and I screamed and screamed and screamed and felt so sick about it. I still feel that way.

So then, pumpkin pies and I don’t know what else.

On the day I’ll make rolls of some kind. Last year I was so organized and full of good things, it was the double holiday on 1 day year (every so often the stars align …) I made what became known at the time as 1-up Mushroom Rolls and Tom-Kitten Rolls. I’d forgotten that until I read my post-thanksgiving/birthday blog post from last year this morning. I don’t know if I’ll make any of those for this Thanksgiving, but I’ll have to remember to re-tool the ideas and get them made on purpose some times.

I’ll have yams or sweet potatoes, canned, and I’ll candy them on the stove top (Candied Yams.) I’ll make a Cheddar Cheese Sauce, with that and cauliflower I’ll make Glorified Cauliflower. The obligatory Green Bean Casserole will also be made. (Green Beans, Chicken Flavored White Sauce, Fried Onions.)

I used to make the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but found it too much with a birthday nearby since 1998, plus my hubby isn’t a good carver so it’s a task best done by me beforehand. It makes everything so much easier to spread the things that need done into the days before the holiday, then on the day it’s reheating and making the veggy things.

Oh, of course, the mashed potatoes. Can’t forget them. I LOVE them with Turkeys and Beef Roasts (and gravy from the particular bird/meat) I love them how I make them. The main secret is, forget any method but using a big Kitchen Aide Stand mixer (or something like it) and first put cooked potatoes into the KA bowl, use a fork to break them up some first, then put the paddle attachment and bowl on the KA Mixer and turn to stir and add salt, butter and sour cream, turn the speed up to 6, allow to mix for 3 minutes. Turn off, scrape the sides, put the wire whip attachment on the KA Mixer and turn the speed to stir, then slowly up to full speed, and leave it to whip for 3 full minutes. Voila! Wonderful Mashed Potatoes!

These work well then to be put into an oven-able serving dish and dot with butter, sprinkle with paprika and stick in a warm-hot oven until ready to serve (not an oven that is baking or roasting something, but this should be done when stuffing and turkey and green bean things are already heated and being held to stay warm.

This is then when the veggy other things for the stove top can be made, and then everything is ready to be served without feeling like it’s killing you. πŸ™‚

The one thing I like and most of us here do, is canned Cranberry Sauce, jellied variety. It’s tart and sweet and cool and smooth and whoa! What a combination with turkey and gravy and stuffing and … oh so good! It says THANKSGIVING! It pulls it all together, makes the most Thankful statement that can be. All the stuff without it is good, OK and all that, but not the same without that cranberry jellied cold smooth tartness. πŸ™‚

Roasted Chicken w/stuffing

I’m going to make some chickens for dinner today. They are Organic fryers. I use two, we eat as much as we want, and use the leftover chicken for whatever, another meal or something.

I love stuffing and I think I’ll make up some today. It’s simple, use Chicken Stock, herbs, bread, onion … very simple (just as it is at Thanksgiving, just on a larger scale)

Wash the chickens inside and out, pat dry. Put some pieces of butter under the skin of the chicken, this sort of thing is traditional, documented elsewhere if you need the help (not here, elsewhere.)

Lightly stuff the chicken cavities with the bread stuffing. Don’t pack it in. If there’s any left you can put it in a casserole and bake it for about 30 minutes. (My favorite though is always the “in the bird” stuffing.)

Roast the birds at 350 degrees F. as long as needed for their size as well as the additional time needed since they are stuffed. Using a Meat thermometer is a great idea. (There are many ways of checking done-ness in a bird, knowing the methodology is wonderful, experience with it even better, so get started if you haven’t yet. Chickens are not hard, easy, just a tad fussy to pick the bones afterward to get all the meat, but it’s not hard.)

When the chickens are done, remove them from the oven and cover with foil and let them sit to recover their juices for about 15 minutes. (They’ll be plenty hot for the table, don’t worry) If you cut into meat or poultry before it has had a chance to sit for awhile, too much of it’s juices will run out and the meat will be dry, which is something I don’t like, how about you?

Dry Wine, Dry Jokes, but not Dry Meat.

If you have stuffed the birds, when you take the chickens out of the oven remove the stuffing to a serving dish right away. Cover that and keep in a warm place (warm, not HOT, it’s already cooked and piping hot, just keep it from losing temperature.)

I also make gravy and mashed potatoes to go with this meal, and organic petite peas.

Thanksgiving/Birthday 2010 is over

Our Thanksgiving holiday was really big because of my daughter having her birthday on the day this year. It’s always a tough week, but with it all “occurring” on the same one day every so often,  it’s a much harder job to pull off.

I made two turkeys (pastured, fresh from a farm) ahead of time, roasted & sliced & packaged. I made stock from one carcass beforehand, and had the other carcass in the pot through to the afternoon on Thursday. I made most of the sides on Thursday.

The day before I made pies, and also setup pastry, onions, bacon & Emmentaler (actually from Switzerland) cheese to make quiche. I covered that with ‘press & seal’ and put it into the refrigerator. In the morning, on Thanksgiving Day, I took that out and mixed 4 eggs with 2 cups of cream and cayenne pepper, poured that into the pastry shell, then put that into the oven to bake. Then I made mini muffins that had cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, sage & green onions in them. (recipe I found on Whole Foods website, but I’m not linking, I changed it, don’t like there entire recipe.)

That was a very nice Thanksgiving morning breakfast. I normally don’t go to so much effort, but the way I did things, making the pies at the same time,  it was easy enough to make pastry for quiche and get the other ingredients into it and refrigerate for later use. (that’s a method I’ve used before, making the day before, for quick put together for baking in the morning.) I used to make quiche fairly often, but the last few+ years I haven’t made it even once, until this week.

The quiche was a big hit with my eldest, 14 year old boy. He loves it, used to love it, he said too. My two youngest (10 years, 3 years — both boys) didn’t like it … wouldn’t eat it. My birthday daughter liked it, I think.

The mini-muffins were great. My daughter and my eldest son and I raved about them. It was a recipe needs tweaked a bit more, if I can get that done I’ll post it. Not sure when I’ll try that, they are special, not something to make “just any time”.

After breakfast I went about making a chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting for my daughters (12th) birthday celebration. I have a new Shannon Crystal cake platter which was a delight to use. I used a certain recipe for the cake, and upped the butter content as well as the chocolate content. Most recipes use 4 oz. of melted chocolate or 1/2 cup of cocoa. I used both amounts. πŸ™‚ Very chocolately, semi-dry, lovely flavor, crumb. Not gooey, not soft, more dry and firm but still “cake”. We liked it, the “we” being me, my 14-yo & my 12-yo. Interesting, I’ll have to compare what I did with more chocolate cake recipes and figure out an even better cake.

Decoration for the cake was white “pearl” nonpareils that I found in Target’s Christmas baking section. 5.1 oz container $2.99 I used 1/8 of the bottle to sprinkle the top of the cake with a seeming “ton” of white pearls. It was very pretty.

When the cake was done I started other things for Thanksgiving Dinner, like I made gravy, got the sweet potatoes mashed (baked the night before, in their skins) which entailed peeling their skins off, then mashing … then making them into sweet potato casserole by adding brown sugar, pineapple chunks & juice, and cinnamon & melted butter. I don’t use a recipe, just throw it in on the fly.

I made green bean casserole using organic frozen green beans (french cut), crispy onions (another brand), and my recipe for the base (basically a white sauce with some added thing for flavor.) I mixed that up and bake it, then add more crispy onions on the top for the last 5 minutes of oven time.

I also made a cheddar cheese sauce to put over a cooked whole cauliflower head. (Something I make for most holiday meals.) It is one of my favorite things to eat.

We also had mashed potatoes (with sour cream instead of milk, for special) and two kinds of turkey gravy, dark and light (has to do with the roux, cooked longer it browns, gravy takes on the color of your roux.) I made dough for rolls and tried something new (my mini-muffins above were made with my brand-new mini-muffin pan, never had one before) — a small ball of dough in each mini-muffin hole. Then with the rest of the dough I thought of Parker House shape, but then went nuts and made something new.

The mini-muffin rolls turned out when baked as something that reminded me of something else. The other rolls reminded my daughter of something as I shaped them. So they are named:

1-up Mushroom Rolls (after Super Mario 1-up Mushroom) There are no real mushrooms in this roll (no mushrooms allowed in my house, I’m allergic to them.)

Tom-Kitten Rolls (after Beatrix Potter story, when rats roll Tom Kitten in dough with a pat of butter.)  For these I shaped them like this: Take a small piece of dough, flatten it into an oblong strip. Put a small pat of butter on one end and fold that end towards the middle and the other end towards the middle on top (thirds). Then take one opposite side and fold to the middle, then other other opposite side towards the middle and place on sheet pan covered with parchment paper.  I made different sizes of this and they were wonderful. Small and larger and even larger.

The stuffing I made was wonderful (the batch I had in the bird), but I forgot to reheat it for our big dinner! I couldn’t believe it when I realized that. It’s the thing I love about Thanksgiving the most. My husband put it the right way. “Your stuffing is my green bean casserole.” Well said.

So I threw it in the oven, then had a little bit so much later, couldn’t eat much since I ate my dinner as slowly as I could, waiting for the stuffing, but stuffed myself too easily anyhow. Sigh.

We had leftovers of all that for supper last night. It was really good then too. My favorite thing to do is what I call “Thanksgiving Stuffing Scramble” (I’ll make some for lunch today. It’s main part is, of course, stuffing. I use a skillet, melt lots of butter, add the stuffing, stir around as it heats up and sizzles and browns a bit. Then I add turkey bits and gravy, no over-mixing, letting it all heat up. Add some cranberry sauce on the side (yes, the jelly stuff in a can. I like it for the flavor and the cold smoothness of texture it adds.) Yum!

I also baked some stuffing in casserole dishes and saved that in the freezer for later. Then I made some with sausage. That’s in the fridge for sooner. I put red pepper flakes in it too. Whoo! It’s tasty, a bit heat oriented, but not tooooo much.

We ate no pie on Thanksgiving Day. (with dinner at about 4:30pm and a birthday party later, we didn’t want anything else.)

We had pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after though. I make my pies with organic canned pumpkin, and follow the Nourish Tradition’s method of putting it all together. Lemon peel, lots of eggs, grated ginger (though I didn’t do that part this year) & I add bourbon where the recipe says “brandy” I have bourbon always on hand. πŸ™‚

My choice was using Wild Turkey Rare Breed Vanilla’d, which is something I made a couple of years ago. I bought the bottle, added two large vanilla beans and put it in a closet where it would never get any light and left it there for several months. It’s very nice. Very nice indeed.

So anyhow, the pumpkin pie is spicy, spicy, spicy, kicked up! Served with sweet raw whipped cream, yummy!

I also made an apple pie, still uneaten, not for long though. Then there is one more pumpkin pie waiting too.

Now it’s Christmas Season. So much to do again. πŸ™‚

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