If you are lucky enough to own a chefs kitchen, with 6 burner stove and double oven, and tons of counter space, then this article is not for you! But if you are a one stove/oven household, and have been asked to do the family Thanksgiving dinner this year, then read on..
By the time my siblings and families get together, there are 16 people. We used to all go to my mothers, and she used to cook the turkey the day before, then slice it up and heat it up on Thanksgiving day, it was a whole weekend affair for her.. I know this saved time, but it had this tendency to be dry, but she needed the oven on the day for her special potatoes, and other vegetables she loved to cook and serve us all, as well as her homemade desserts, and we loved it.
But with time at a premium, it can be very stressful to organize a Thanksgiving Dinner and not need antacids afterwards!
But now it is my turn to do the Thanksgiving dinners, and after many years of my mom doing it, I had a hard act to follow! I came up with all these great recipes, but when I went to make some of these things, I had not allowed for the fact that all these dishes need the oven! But, I came up with a great menu that is able to feed 16 people all with one oven and a barbeque.
I would cook the turkey and ham in the oven, and due to the size, they would take up most of the oven. But I managed to save a little space with one more rack underneath, and this is where I re-heat my yam casserole, in a larger flatter casserole dish so it will fit.. I then wrap scrubbed potatoes in foil and put them on the barbeque to cook. I then cook corn on the cob in a large pot on the burners. I break the corn in half for smaller pieces. My family absolutely love this menu for Thanksgiving, and now want the same thing every year. It is a simple menu: Turkey, ham, yam casserole, corn, baked potatoes and of course lots of turkey gravy which was made on top of the stove, as well as stove top stuffing!.. (Yes, I cheat and use stove top stuffing, I stuff some in the bird, and make the rest on top of the stove)
Ask someone else to bring dessert and buns, ( you should not have to do everything!) and you have a great Thanksgiving dinner!.
But, I personally like having the turkey and ham done the same day, so this requires a menu change or at least, think it through as to what pans and dishes you are going to need. If this is your first Thanksgiving dinner, just make a note of the times needed for your dishes, such as getting your turkey in the oven early enough, but not cooking corn on the cob until the last.. make notes if you have to, and try to visualize all the things you are cooking.
The night before, get out all your serving dishes. There is nothing worse then everything being cooked and ready to go, and now you are trying to rustle through your cabinets for serving dishes! Try to think of all the last minute things you will need, so you are not rushing around panicking as everything comes together.
I even set the table the night before..
This is where the barbeque comes in handy. It is great for backups, such as baked potatoes wrapped in foil, and to heat anything up.
If you turn on one burner of your barbeque, and not the other one, this will create a oven environment. Place you pan that you are wanting to warm up or bake on the side that is NOT on, and you will not burn your food. This way the barbeque can take on those extra dishes, without concern of burns. This also works well for things like pizza!
Things You Will Need
One of my favorite dishes, is the "Baked Yams Casserole"
It is easy to do, and fits in with any menu, whether it be for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any special day.
I like to do this the night before, then you just need to heat it up the next day, it travels well, and tastes just as good as a leftover.
Baked Yams Casserole
6 good sized yams or sweet potatoes (the orange ones!)
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cream
Peel and cut up the sweet potatoes, and boil until tender, then mash them.
In a bowl, mix together the butter and the sugars, then mix in the egg and the milk.
Pour this mixture into the mashed yams, then fold into a casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour. Let stand for 5 minutes and then serve.
This dish goes great with turkey, roast beef, any meat, and re-heats well.
Do not kill yourself, trying to create the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, the important part of this dinner is who you spend it with. I will always miss my mom's homemade everything, but she would spend days at this, and had two fridges to store everything in. Another friend of mine, has to use her neighbors stove as an extra, so of course she invites the neighbor for Thanksgiving dinner. But if you plan it right, you can pull off a simple holiday dinner. Just visualize what these dishes need, whether it is the oven or the burners.
I like to cook, and I wanted to create some more exotic dishes, but at the end of the day, my family is your basic "meat and potato" crowd, and so why stress myself? We laugh, we eat, we love, and that is all that really matters. I could probably get away with takeout pizza and still pull off the perfect Thanksgiving dinner as far as my family is concerned!
Tips & Warnings
Live ... Laugh... Love .. EAT!
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