Friday, November 28, 2014

Making A Complete Thanksgiving Dinner...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  This is the first Thanksgiving dinner I've made (hey, I'm only 5!). I'm going to show you the easiest, most successful way, step-by-step, to put together a full Thanksgiving dinner, from turkey to stuffing, to mashed potatoes, to corn, to pie, that people will be raving about.

Things needed:

Frozen turkey
Stuffing mix
Whole potatoes
Frozen corn or other veggies
Frozen pie (I used apple)
Cranberry sauce

Let's get started. These are the items needed to do the turkey. I used a turkey roasting oven bag, flour, extra virgin olive oil, a disposable aluminum roasting pan, and, of course, the turkey. I am preparing a twenty pound turkey.

Cut the plastic that is used for carrying the turkey and remove it.

Open a roasting bag and add a full tablespoon of flour to the bag.

Hold the open end of the bag closed and shake the flour around in the bag until the inside of bag is completely covered. This helps keep the bag from bursting.

You next want to cut the plastic off of the turkey. It is best to do this in a sink since there is a lot of turkey juice in the bag. Here are some BIG tips! Buy your frozen turkey about a week before Thanksgiving. A lot of grocery stores have big sales on their turkeys the week before Thanksgiving if you buy some additional groceries. This turkey cost us 59¢ a pound at Kroger.  The easiest way to thaw a turkey is to take it from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator days before you are ready to cook it. Put the frozen turkey in the refrigerator 1 day for every 4 pounds.  We put our 20 pound turkey in the refrigerator on Sunday so that it was thawed by Thursday, Thanksgiving day.

Remove the bag of giblets from inside the turkey. I did not use them but some people use them for gravy and in their stuffing.

Be sure to check both ends of the turkey. You'll probably find bags of things in the turkey in both ends. Not only that, you may need to dig your hand deep into the turkey to find the turkey neck and remove that.

Cover the turkey in olive oil. This helps keep the turkey moist, gives it a great flavor, and cooks to a delicious looking color.

This is kind of messy but fun. Rub the olive oil all over the entire turkey to make sure every bit of it is covered. Be sure to spread the olive oil on, and under, the legs, the wings and under the turkey.

Have a grown-up help you put the turkey in the prepared roasting bag and put it in the roasting pan (I had a grown-up help me with that since the turkey is 20 pounds and I'm only 40 pounds). Then close the bag with the plastic tie that came with the bag.

Cut six small slits in the top of the bag to let the steam escape when cooking.

Again, with the help of a grown-up, put the turkey in your oven preheated to 350 degrees. I baked our 20 pound turkey for 3 hours. This turkey had a pop-up button to tell you when the turkey was fully cooked.

With the turkey taking three hours to cook, you have some time before needing to prepare the rest of the meal. I went outside and played for about an hour before doing the next part of the meal. I made mashed potatoes from scratch. Working very carefully, you need to peel each potato. Another BIG tip: don't put the potato peels down you drain even if you have a disposal. They can clog your drain and cause big problems. Did you know that because of all the stuff people put down their drains preparing the Thanksgiving meal that Thanksgiving day is the busiest day for plumbers?!

I have an adult cut the peeled potatoes as I boil the water to cook them. I add salt to the water to help get the salt all through the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they are soft.

After three hours of cooking, you have a beautiful, well flavored, completely cooked turkey with no extra brushing, turning, or fussing. Yep, as simple as that!

Have a grown-up take the turkey out of the oven. Here is an important part - let the turkey sit in the bag while you finish preparing the rest of the meal. It will continue to cook and it will help with slicing if the turkey sits for a while. After taking the turkey out of the oven, turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees while you prepare your pie. I've chosen a frozen apple pie. Make four slits in the pie for the steam to come out.

A baking apple pie can get very messy in the oven so I take a cookie sheet and put aluminum foil on it to catch any filling overflow and make clean-up very easy.

Then simply put your frozen pie on the aluminum foil covered cookie sheet and it is easy to handle getting in and out of the oven and with no mess.

When the oven has preheated to 400 degrees, put the pie in the oven for 1 hour. When the pie is done you can take it out of the oven to cool and it will be ready to serve after the meal.

While the turkey is sitting and the pie is baking, you can now prepare the rest of the meal. I am making the stuffing by adding a big spoon of butter to a pan. I am using a lot of butter because I am going to make two packages of stuffing.

Add water as instructed on the package and put the pan on a burner and bring it to a boil.

While the water for the stuffing is heating, pour the frozen corn into a 2 quart microwave safe bowl.

Add two tablespoons of water to the corn and put the lid on.

Put the corn in the microwave and cook for 7 minutes.

When the water and butter start to boil remove the pan from the burner and add the stuffing mix.

Stir the stuffing mix around until all of it is wet.  You can then put the lid on the pan until you are ready to put the stuffing in a bowl.

The potatoes should be fully boiled and soft by now. Have a grown-up pour all of the hot water out of the pan leaving just the cooked potatoes. You can begin to mash the potatoes.

Add a BIG spoon of butter (2 or 3 tablespoons or more depending on how many potatoes you cooked).

Add milk. Start with about a cup of milk and then add more if needed to get the potatoes just the way you want them.

Add salt and pepper and then continue to mash everything together until everything is mixed well and the potatoes are nice and smooth.

You have now cooked everything. Put everything in serving bowls, have a grown-up slice your cooked turkey, mix some flour in some turkey juice for gravy, put out some cranberry sauce and fruit and you have a complete Thanksgiving dinner.

After receiving all of the compliments for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, don't forget you still have the pie you baked that should be just right for cutting and being the perfect topping of a wonderful meal. As an added touch, you can top each slice of pie with some Cool Whip.

I hoped you enjoyed my Thanksgiving meal preparation. You can use these ideas at Thanksgiving, for a Christmas turkey meal, or anytime you just want to enjoy a great tasting, easy to prepare turkey dinner.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering why I changed from a blue dress to a pink dress as I prepared this meal, we made up some pizza bites to snack on and I dropped one on my dress so to the washer it went and I needed to change to clean clothes).  Always something!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sodalicious Pancakes...

This four-ingredient pancake recipe has one surprise ingredient...soda - specifically 7-Up!  You need to try this.  The pancakes are lighter and fluffier than regular pancakes and even taste more like restaurant pancakes and even pretty close to McDonald's hot cakes.  Not only that,they are super easy to make.

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbsp corn oil
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 - 1½ cups 7-Up

  1.  Heat griddle to 350°.
  2. Beat one egg in a bowl.
  3. Add corn oil and 1 cup 7-Up.  Blend.
  4. Stir in Bisquick.
  5. Add additional 7-Up to make the mixture the right consistency for pouring the pancakes.  Mix together.  It is ok if there are still a few lumps remaining in the mixture.
  6. Make the pancakes by pouring ¼ cup of the pancake mix on the griddle for each pancake.
  7. Cook the pancakes until they are lightly browned, turning only once.
          Makes about eight 4-inch pancakes.

This all of the things you need to make the 7-Up pancakes... plus one egg.

Crack an egg on the side of the bowl and then pour the inside of the egg into the bowl.

Measure one tablespoon of corn oil and pour that into the bowl with the egg.

Completely mix together the egg and oil.

Measure one cup of 7-Up.  You can also use Sprite or Sierra Mist or even Mountain Dew for a little bit different taste.

Pour the 7-Up into the bowl with the egg and oil and mix it all together.

Use a dry measuring cup to measure two cups of Bisquick.

Smooth the Bisquick even with the top of the measuring cup.

Pour the Bisquick into the bowl with the egg, oil, and 7-up.  I am using a one-cup measuring cup so I use two of them in the mix.

Now mix all of the ingredients together until everything is wet.  It is ok if there are still a few lumps.

Carefully add a little more 7-Up if needed to get the pancake mix to the consistency to pour the pancakes.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the batter onto a pre-heated 350° griddle.  If you are cooking the pancakes in a pan on a burner, use medium heat and a little oil in the pan.  You can tell when the pan is hot enough for the pancakes by putting a few drops of water on the pan.  If the water drops 'dance around,' the pan is ready to cook the pancakes.

Watch your pancakes while they cook.  When the pancakes start getting bubbles that pop, they are ready to turn over.  Only turn the pancakes over once.

Turn the pancakes over and let them cook on the other side until they start to turn a golden brown.

When the pancakes are cooked evenly on both sides, the batter will start to look dry around the edges, remove the pancakes and put them on a plate ready to serve.

Then sit down and have some of the best tasting pancakes ever.  You can top your pancakes with butter, maple syrup, jelly, whipped cream, or even chocolate syrup. Some people even say these pancakes make them think of McDonald's Hot Cakes.  Let me know if you think they taste like McDonald's and how well you did with the 7-Up pancakes.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole...

If you love chili cheese hot dogs, you'll love this recipe.  It requires only 4 ingredients and can be put together quickly.  It is also great for pot luck dinners, an ideal dish when you have friends over, young or old, or when you want something easy when you and friends are watching a the big game.  (But,... if you don't like chili cheese hot dogs, then this recipe may not be for you).

  • 8 hot dog buns, torn into pieces
  • 8 hot dogs cut into slices
  • 15 oz. can of chili (with or without beans)
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray a 9 X 13 in. baking dish with Pam.
  3. Put the hot dog bun pieces on the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Put the sliced hot dog pieces on top, covering the bun pieces.
  5. Pour the chili over the top of the hot dogs and cover with the shredded cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, removing foil for the last 10 minutes.

These are all of the ingredients you'll need to make the chili cheese dog casserole.

Have a grown-up spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with Pam.  Then break up each hot dog bun and put in the bottom of the dish.

Cut each hot dog into pieces about 1/2 to 1 inch long.

Put all of the hot dogs on top of the hot dog buns.

Spread all of the hot dog pieces around so that they fully cover all of the hot dog buns.

Spread a can of chili evenly on top of all of the hot dogs.

Pour the entire package of shredded cheese on top of the chili.

Spread the cheese around evenly so that it covers all of the hot dogs  and chili.

When everything is spread around evenly, cover the casserole with aluminum foil.

Tuck the aluminum foil around all of the edges.  Then, have a grown-up put the covered casserole in a 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes, removing the aluminum foil cover for the last 10 minutes.

Ta da!  30 minutes later you have a completed chili cheese dog casserole!

You can eat it just as the delicious casserole or you can even add ketchup or mustard just like you might do with a real chili cheese dog.  Let me know what you think.