Friday, November 28, 2008

Cook, Eat, Clean, Repeat

This was our cycle from Wednesday night through today. My dishwasher has run more in three days than it did in the past 3 months. With my 50+ hours a week work schedule plus Mom visits, the only cooking I have done is dog food.

I must say I actually enjoyed having the chance to be in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. My brother and sister-in-law from Florida, nephew from Atlanta, and nephew, niece-in-law and 2 great nieces from Memphis all came in Wednesday night. My plan for supper was to heat up a pan of Omaha Steaks lasagna that was coming as part of a gift box to be delivered Wednesday, along with a big salad and a baguette.

When the Omaha Steaks box arrived about 5:00, I was surprised and dismayed to see that the lasagna was sized for three servings! Ouch! I dashed to the kitchen and figured I had all I needed to put together a pot of red beans (with smoked turkey sausage) and brown rice - and it was was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Thanksgiving morning, we made a big country breakfast. My nephew Neil is the official biscuit maker in our family, and as usual, his biscuits were light and tasty as can be. I made sausage and gravy, and brother Jimmy made fluffy scrambled eggs. Everyone had fun making their own coffee or hot chocolate in my fabulous Keurig coffee maker - I should get a commission on these - everyone wants their own for Christmas. We finished eating, got up and started cleaning up so that we could start cooking dinner.

I was in charge of the dressing - something Mom has always made in the past. I had never made it, but watched her do it many times. I cooked celery and onion in butter til tender. I made a large batch of cornbread from scratch. When I was growing up, a pone of cornbread was on our table at least 5 out of seven nights a week. As I got older, I would occasionally make it, but I am sure the last cornbread I made was probably fifteen years ago. I was happy to see that it was like riding a bike - something you never forget how to do. I crumbled up the cornbread, stirred in the celery-onion-butter mix, soaked it all in chicken broth, and baked it for 35 minutes. It turned out good! I also made Mom's super secret easy gravy - I could share it, but you would lose all respect for me and good southern cooking if I did. (Although - I did share it with a huge food snob friend of mine who was in a panic Thanksgiving a few years ago when she was cooking for her new husband's family for the first time and had forgotten about making gravy. She was appalled when I told her what to do, but everyone at the table loved it and she has used the recipe ever since.)

If you don't have a turkey roaster, wait until after the holidays and then check the endcaps at Target or Walmart and pick yourself up one at a bargain price. Heck, go ahead and buy one at full price - it is so worth it not to tie up your oven. However - do not believe the cooking time they say in the instruction book - we have used two different roasters over the last couple of years, and both cooked the turkey in about half the time prescribed.

Today we started all over again - another big breakfast - even got a picture of it:

We had a little time to kick back before we started cooking again today - but this time we had a big batch of fried crappie and hushpuppies. My aunt in Mississippi who spends her summers fishing sent frozen filets to us via an uncle who was traveling through.

This afternoon, everyone headed out - nephew Eric to a wedding in Cincinatti, Neil and his girls to Atlanta to visit friends, and brother and sis in law started back to Florida. It's awfully quiet in my little house tonight, but nice. And I have a refrigerator full of food. I may have to recruit some folks at the corgi parade to come help me clear it out.

Hope everyone else had a happy and safe holiday.

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