Thursday, 6 October 2016

Cooking A Stress-Free, Holiday Turkey dinner

The Turkey Dinner.
Isn't it what the holiday celebrations are centred around?
The family comes together.
The grandparents.
The grand-children.
The siblings,
the aunts and uncles.
It is what we do.
It is what we love.
Always, it is about family.....
about fun!
But mostly,
It is about the food!
You see,
Food is celebration. 

It is.
Especially during holidays.

in our family,
 we sorta "covet"
our holiday Turkey dinners.
We like them to be just "so".
I'm a lover of tradition.

Why mess with a good thing?
Not to say that I don't try new things.
I do.
I'm not afraid to try a new recipe.
or a new dish.
some things need to remain constant.
Like this,

Look, don't scoff!
It's quite possible you don't like turnip.
(My father-in-law does not prefer it.)
But, this is no ordinary turnip recipe!
This is so yummy!
(My father-in-law LOVES it!)
It is filled with apples and brown sugar and butter and a pinch of cinnamon!
It's almost like dessert!
 (But it's not!)

Looks delicious, right???
It is!
And always, we have

This, besides the turkey,
is the family favourite!
We absolutely cannot have a turkey dinner without it!
(I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my side of the family this past Sunday,
and mom brought the potatoes!
Thanks, mom!)
Here's why we always have these two items on our Turkey dinner menu.
Obviously, they taste fantastic!!!!
they can be prepared ahead of time!

This has saved my life!
On the day we eat dinner,
I'm always kept on my toes doing last minute things.
Everybody pitches in to help,
(Ok, maybe not "everybody", but enough do!)
(Also, I want you to know, my husband is a CHAMPION!
He helps me out with everything!
Thanks, babe! <3)
but it seems I'm always running around like a chicken with my head cut off,
 the last hour before we plan to eat.
I absolutely LOVE being able to pull these two items out of the oven
and plop them on the table with no worry about draining, mashing and scooping!
We usually put one item on each end, and after everyone has been served the dish in front of them, we simply switch the two and proceed!
Works like a charm!
I usually make the Apple Turnip Bake,

two days prior.
The potatoes can actually be made up to a couple weeks in advance, and frozen.
Or, if someone offers to bring a dish, I have them bring the potatoes for me!
Another staple at our holiday table is my
Rustic Style Cranberry Chutney.
Also, made ahead of time.

This chutney is delicious!
It's what I get asked to bring whenever I'm not hosting dinner.
So good!
Also, leftover turkey buns with lettuce and this chutney?

I always make peas.
I know.
Not everyone likes peas.
But listen, folks.
Pea water (Eeewww.....) The water drained from cooking peas, makes the best gravy.
This is true!

I always make carrots.
These Glazed Orange Ginger Carrots are a favorite!

(Although, sometimes, I just put a dollop of honey and a dollop of butter with salt and pepper,
and call it done!)

So tasty!
(Pretty, too!)

This Creamy Bacon Corn Bake
is another favourite I often incorporate into a Turkey Dinner.
It's so delicious and can also be made the day before.

Plus, it has bacon.
Need I say more?

It's pretty important to have a turkey when you're cooking a turkey dinner.

Here's Sunday's bird.
I was told that laying bacon strips on your turkey adds to the flavour.
(Bacon makes EVERYTHING better, right?!?)
So, I always do that.

I like eating the bacon after the bird comes out of the oven.

Add in some fresh buns,
and you have the makings of an absolutely fantastic Turkey dinner!

Let me say this.
The potatoes, the turnip and corn
all have to be baked in the oven.
This works for me, as I have a double oven.
But if you don't,
you have two options.
Cook your turkey well in advance.
You can keep it covered and warm afterward while the other dishes bake in the oven.
(Plus, it's a good idea to let your turkey rest.)
purchase a turkey roaster.
This is what I did before I owned a double oven.
Then, you can cook everything at the same time.
If you prefer your turkey cooked in the oven like I do,
You can fit two French White round casserole dishes in the roaster.
Cook the turnip and the potatoes in the roaster,
and prep the corn bake the day of.
You will need to plan to have your turkey out of the oven half an hour before you plan to eat, so you can put the hot corn dish in the oven to bake.
The timing works well because you need to take the turkey out and let it rest,
and you need the drippings to make the gravy.

I don't follow a specific recipe for gravy.
I use the turkey drippings, drained through a sieve,
and my reserved turnip water, carrot water and pea water water from the peas.
I add a flour roux, or for a gluten free version, a corn-starch roux,
and salt and pepper to taste.

To top off that great dinner,
this Favourite Pumpkin Pie,
served with a generous dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and coffee, will hit the spot!

What is a Holiday Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner without Pumpkin Pie for dessert!
(Can't be done.)

There you go!
I hope this helps you with your up-coming Turkey Dinner menu.
I'd love your feedback if you use any of these options for your Turkey Dinner!
Or, if you have a great recipe or tip that you find to be a great help,
let me know!
I'm always up for ways to improve on a
Turkey Dinner!

Holiday Turkey Dinner Menu

Roasted Turkey
Rustic Style Cranberry Chutney
Fruited Wild Rice Stuffing
Potatoes Extraordinaire
Apple Turnip Bake
Creamy Bacon Corn Bake
Glazed Orange Ginger Carrots
Fresh buns

Favourite Pumpkin Pie