Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Preparation - Prepare This!!!

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As Thanksgiving Day draws ever closer, it's best to prepare as much of the festive feast ahead of time as possible in order to set aside as much alcoholic time as possible. That being said, once those beloved relatives start rolling in, with the kids hysterically screaming and the old fossils dredging up ancient grudges with promises to settle the score out back, the kitchen may be the only safe and peaceful place to be. Regardless, I still strongly recommend doing as much advance prep work as possible. Then, when the chaos begins, you can simply hide in the corner and smile catatonically as your liver and brain cells begin to degenerate.

Let the cooking begin.

Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients: three (3) 15 oz cans of pumpkin
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 to 2 tsp sugar, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
Put pumpkin in a large pot. Add sugar and a little salt and pepper. Pour in chicken stock. Cook for 20 minutes until soup is hot, adding water to thin, if necessary. Serve hot. Pass around yogurt in a bowl so your guests can stir in the amount they want.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice or water
1 cup sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and orange juice (or water) in a large mixer bowl. Beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Cranberry Apple Stuffing
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium tart apple, cored and diced
1 cup each of diced celery and diced onion
3/4 cup dried cranberries
14.5 oz can of chicken broth
2 six oz bags of seasoned stuffing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté apple, celery, onion and cranberries in oil until onion is tender. In a large bowl, combine sautéed vegetables, broth and stuffing mix until well blended. Spoon stuffing mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients: 2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 bags (12 oz each) fresh cranberries
1 bag (12-16 oz) frozen strawberries in syrup
2 cans (11 oz each) mandarin orange segments
1 can chunk pineapple
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, add strawberries with syrup, mandarin orange sections (drained) and chunk pineapple (drained). Refrigerate until serving time.

Green Bean Casserole
Ingredients: 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 packages (9 oz each) frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 1/3 cups French's french fried onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 1 1/2 quart casserole, combine soup, milk and pepper. Mix well. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup french fried onions. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup onion. Bake 5 minutes or until onions are golden.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Ingredients: 3 cups mashed or 1 (40 oz) can yams/cut sweet potatoes in syrup, drained and mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11 x 7 x 2 inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine the potatoes, sugar, milk, eggs, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1/2 cup melted butter. Stir well. Pour into prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, pecans, brown sugar and flour. Spread over potatoes. Bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Can't you just feel your arteries hardening. Tomorrow, we do turkey.

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