Thanksgiving, or any meal for that matter doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to be great and memorable. Here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way-
Sure, you can make it from scratch but I’d rather concentrate on another dish. However, many years ago when I got tired of stuffing tasting the same year after year I decided to add a few ingredients and here’s what I came up with-
Jazzed Up Stuffing
1 16 ounce package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing mix
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium sized carrots, finely diced
1 8 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a large baking pan.
Make stuffing according to directions.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until transparent.
Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often and until the vegetables are tender.
Add the vegetable mixture to the stuffing and mix well.
Spoon into the baking pan and cook for about 20 minutes until it’s heated through.
If there’s any leftover, it makes a great stuffing for pork chops. Just make a slice in each chop, fill with some stuffing mixture and cook.
I know it’s supposed to be a traditional dish but last year I tried something completely different and made a pumpkin and cranberry bread pudding in the slow cooker. It was delicious, easier to put together than a pie, and it didn’t tie up valuable space in the oven. Another good thing you can go away, do some other chores, and don’t have to worry about it.
Here is a link to the recipe I used. The only thing I changed was I opted for cooked cinnamon rolls instead of cinnamon bread. One because I couldn’t find bread, and two, cinnamon rolls were on sale and I had a coupon. I’m making this again this year and I know you’ll love this recipe too. And if you want every meal to use leftovers, this one makes a wonderful breakfast…that is if you have any left after Thursday!
Two years ago I was given these mulling spices as a gift. They’re delicious in both apple and cranberry juice but I’m always looking for ways to use them in different ways. I mentioned the bread pudding. It called for milk so I added some of the spices to the milk, simmered it for about 20 minutes and used it for the pudding. Just a simple way to make things taste even better. I’m guessing drinking the spiced laced milk would also be good on a cold winter’s night.
I don’t know why but gravy is something most people seem to panic over making. Not that I don’t like homemade gravy but when premade is on sale…this jar was 89 cents, I think it’s one time store bought is better and sometimes cheaper than making it yourself. Something I like doing is adding carmelized onions and sauteed mushrooms too.
I don’t think it would be a holiday meal without leftovers. I look at them as free meals and freedom from cooking for a few days. Here’s something I make when I can’t think of anything else to do with them-
Turkey and Vegetable Chowder (serves 6)
- About four cups of leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 cup leftover sliced carrots
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 3-4 cups of chopped leftover turkey
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about five minutes. Add the celery and cook for another five minutes.
- Mix the flour with the stock and set aside. Add the rest of the stock to the pan, and then add the cooked carrots, potatoes, and turkey and stir.
- Add the flour/stock mixture and heat until smooth and thickened. Stir in the corn, peas and milk and season to taste. Simmer for about five minutes before serving.
Some Good Stuff on the Web
Here is a great article I found last week if you’re thinking of trying something new this year-
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.