Happy Thanksgiving to all!
I hope that, no matter where you are in life, you spent the day in the company of good family & friends, and delicious food. In celebration of the holiday, I thought I’d share with you three of my family’s “standby” recipes.
1 whole turkey (fresh or frozen)
Approx. 1 cup margarine or butter
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Large roasting pan (lid not vital)
Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator at least a day ahead of preparation, enough to remove the giblets and neck from the cavities of the bird. However, if you forget to thaw it, you can just cook it straight from the freezer – just allow a little extra time for cooking.
Begin the night before, about 10 PM for 12-15 pound turkey, a little earlier for a larger turkey. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Tear off TWO strips of heavy-duty foil, each long enough to wrap around the bird and then some – be generous. Lay the strips on top of one another, long edges together. Carefully fold together about 1/2″ along the long edge, the entire length of the foil. Then fold over again, and then once more. It makes a strong, no-drip seal of the foil pieces. Open foil out on table or countertop. Don’t put the turkey on the foil until you are ready to wrap it (to minimize the chance of tearing the foil).
Rinse turkey in cold water in a clean sink. (Now is the best time to remove the giblets and neck.) Carefully place turkey in the middle of the foil. With a paper towel, blot it more-or-less dry. Then dot the turkey with 1/2 tsp dabs of butter all over. Salt all over. Sprinkle parsley on, if desired.
Carefully, without poking holes in the foil, pull sides of the foil so they meet & fold/roll the edges close to the turkey. Then roll up the ends. Turkey will be completely sealed in the foil, trapping in the juices and making the turkey moist and tender. Place the wrapped turkey in a baking/roasting pan deep enough to catch juices that will escape later.
Place turkey in oven, cook at 325 degrees for +/- 45 minutes. Then reduce heat to 275 degrees and slow cook until it’s done. Obviously larger turkeys take longer. For a 12-15 pound turkey, it will need to cook overnight from about 11PM, checking when you first get up (don’t forget to reseal the foil), with periodic checks until it is done. You know it’s done when you jiggle the turkey leg and it falls off.
No basting or middle-of-the-night checks necessary! You may also fold back the foil to dip out broth for dressing or gravy. Slow cooking like this, you can literally cook it until the meat falls of the bones, and it will still be tender and moist.
Open the foil after the turkey is fully cooked, a little before serving. Return it to the oven and turn the heat to 400 degrees for about 15 minutes to give a nice brown glow to the turkey. Carve and serve.
3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 t. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix together sweet potatoes with sugar, 1/2 cup butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Put in a casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and 1/3 cup butter. Crumble this mixture into small pieces and spread over the top of sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Little Sister’s Family Holiday Pie
4 extra large (or 5 large) egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 t. baking powder
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
14 squares graham crackers, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup pecan pieces, plus a few extra for topping
1 8-oz tub Cool Whip
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease 9-inch pie plate.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and baking powder until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar, beating constantly. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber scraper, fold in graham crackers and pecan pieces. Spoon into pie plate.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.
Stir Cool Whip until fluffy, then spread over the top of the pie after it has cooled. Sprinkle the top with pecan pieces and allow pie to set in refrigerator.
I’d love to hear about your favorite family Thanksgiving recipes or traditions … please, leave me a comment and share with me!
I hope you had a blessed day!