Monday, November 22, 2010

The basics

If you haven't figured it out by now the holiday season is my least favorite time of year. It shouldn't be, I have a school aged kid (they always love Christmas) and the vicious grip of summer has been released by this time of year. Well kinda, this week (Thanksgiving week) it'll be in the 80's all week long. For us that isn't bad though and we consider that the beginning of winter (no real fall). It's a Texas thing, move here and you'll understand. Still, I hate this season. Oddly it's not even really dealing with family or making the food. We don't live near family except for my mom and we avoid each other for the most part. What bothers me the most is other people's behavior. The holiday season brings out the asshole in everyone. Driving in this state is scary enough as it is. Texas is by far the most horrid state for drivers in the nation. I've driven on both coasts, in the middle and even New York city, which wasn't bad at all. Texas drivers suck balls. It's astounding to see the kinds of moronic mistakes they make. Add the holidays in the mix and that's it, nightmares-r-us.

Shopping at something as basic as the grocery store during the season? REDUNCULOUS. I tried to get everything I needed for Thursday's dinner purchased by this past Saturday. I was almost successful. I forgot the gravy. No I do not make my own gravy, it's too easy to buy it in a jar and I can't tell the difference in taste. Yes, I do the whole turkey dinner thing all by myself for just me, the hubby, and the kid. Yes, it's a lot of food but when I got the turkey I called the hubby to let him know that some how (miraculously) the thing fit in our freezer. He then asked, just to make sure, if I bought one big enough that we'd have left overs. Let's think about this for a moment. The average small turkey is at least 10lbs right? Maybe? Close? There's 3 of us and one of us is 9 years old. How much of that bird do you think we're going to eat? Yeah, not all of it at once.

We have a thing for turkey leftovers in our household. A week out, when everyone else is sick and tired of them we're getting sad because we don't have anymore. I make a turkey noodle soup with matzoh balls (basically the same as my chicken noodle soup with matzoh balls) which is always a hit with the homestead. Yes, it's made from scratch, no it's not hard at all. I can even whip it together after coming home from work for dinner that night. Seriously easy as long as the chicken or turkey is already cooked. That's what I use those roasted chickens at the grocery store for. I also make left over mini turkey pot pies using a muffin pan, pie crust (pre-made, I don't have the patience to make pie crust), green bean bake (the Campbell's soup version), and turkey. There's a more fancy version here : Second day turkey and string bean pot pies
But you can change it up of course, I don't bother with the milk or chicken broth. We also have a thing for the basic turkey sandwich with just mayo salt pepper bread and turkey. You know, the old standby right?

For the dinner I do the most basic turkey day dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes (yes, I leave lumps in and I don't mash them into some semblance of soup), gravy (from a jar), green bean bake (Campbells soup version), stuffing (no cranberries or walnuts, I use olives, celery and water chesnuts), and a dessert. The turkey is not brined. I tried that one year and we all hated it, too salty. I do mine in a bag and I've always had awesome success with it. I grow my own rosemary and do a rosemary butter rub with it and it's divine. Ahh turkey...
The dessert we've tried different things with. The hubby doesn't like cakes or pies for the most part so I've got to get creative. I tried a pumpkin cheesecake one year but the damn crust wouldn't come out of the pan. Rock freaking solid. I personally love pumpkin pie from Costco but it's HUGE and the hubby doesn't like pumpkin pies. Last year he finally tried pecan pie (yes, homemade, soo easy!) and he fell in love with it. I'm sooo glad too since I love it. I decided my adventure this year will be a small twist the Pioneer Woman did on her throwdown with Bobby Flay, I'm making the whiskey maple cream sauce to go over the pie. Whiskey on pie...just can't go wrong with that huh?

This prompted an alcohol purchase and of course I didn't have my hubby with me so I had to wing it. Lucky me they had a taste testing at the Costco alcohol section I was shopping at last Saturday. FYI I don't drink alcohol. Never learned to like the taste so I am not a good judge of alcohol. I went with the one that didn't make me cough. Sound about right? Yeah well it's going into a sauce anyway.

So yeah, with the exception of the whiskey cream sauce going over the pie my turkey day dinner is super basic. Might I also add I don't know why people spend so much time on these dinners. Turkeys are just big ass chickens and as long as you follow the instructions normally on the package somewhere (lbs and minutes to be cooked) you're golden. Everything else is just as easy. So not a big deal and it doesn't take all day! Well peeling potatoes can take awhile but really that's it. Even if you make your own cranberry sauce, it's easy peasy! I don't. The kid LOVES the kind that comes in a can. Works for me...

So how about you guys, do you make your own dinner so you can get left overs? I swear even if it was just me and the hubby I'd still make my own dinner. I hated going to see family and listen to their bs just so we could eat. Yes, the holidays are so not my fav time of year.

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