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Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner when you can't cook

My sister is the one who usually does everything but this year she has a different job so a week later she is going to fix my mother and father 'plates'. I don't know if she is including me because she is very angry Obama won..

My mother wants to go to Golden Coral but I would rather die. I thought if I couldn't find a nearby grocery store that caters I would learn how to cook a turkey breast, some stove top dressing (I actually like it) frozen smashed potatoes, brocolli cheese ,some kind of green bean casserole and buy the desserts somewhere...

I have never cooked so many things at the same time. How is it done? Any ideas?

by Anonymousreply 11011/13/2012

Op if you can afford it, just have some grocery or restaurant cook the meal which you pick up on Nov. 21st. So much easier that way.

by Anonymousreply 111/12/2012

Just order out

by Anonymousreply 211/12/2012

Turkey is pretty easy to cook. Just make sure you get one with a pop-up thermometer and you should be all set.

by Anonymousreply 311/12/2012

google trisha yearwood (yeah that one) easy turkey

it is fool proof and super easy all you need is a roasting pan.

by Anonymousreply 411/12/2012

It's so easy. Do a dry run this week and you'll see how easy it is. Also, you can just cook a large turkey breast instead of the whole bird. Almost everything can be cooked in advanced and then nuked. Candied carrots can be made with brown sugar, butter and honey or maple syrup. So easy. Martha's website, peruse it, then simplify to suit your own needs.

by Anonymousreply 511/12/2012

Aren't there any decent restaurants where you live? Why is it Golden Corral or nothing?

I agree you should have it catered if you've never cooked before.

And what does it mean that your sister has a different job and is going to "fix their plates"? Are you saying she's working on Thanksgiving? Is she having it a week late? Very confusing post.

by Anonymousreply 611/12/2012

Honey, EVERY nearby grocery store caters. That's what they do. Unless you live in the inner city and all you have nearby are Aldi's or something.

by Anonymousreply 711/12/2012

She's working on Thanksgiving so she has to wait til her husband is also off. I guess she is having the dinner at her house usually it is at our parents who are only getting plates this year...

by Anonymousreply 811/12/2012

You can cook the turkey breast a day or two in advance and just nuke it for the dinner. Most of the other stuff, including mashed potatoes and stuffing, you can buy frozen and nuke it. Look in the deli department of your grocery store for the green bean cassrole and cranberry relish.

by Anonymousreply 911/12/2012

If your elderly mother wants Golden Corral, who are you to argue? Just take her there (but do not trust the "sneeze" shields; they do not do their job).

by Anonymousreply 1011/12/2012

Do not listen to R9. Microwave cooking is vile.

Order from a caterer or supermarket, or find a decent restaurant and make a reservation.

The tackiest fucking queens post here.

by Anonymousreply 1111/12/2012

OP, you have no shortage of options. A lot of restaurants, grocery stores, and even churches prepare Thanksgiving meals for a small fee.

by Anonymousreply 1211/12/2012

Harry and David has a precooked turkey. Just warm it up and make the sides yourself.

by Anonymousreply 1311/12/2012

Please don't nuke precooked turkey, it will be dried out leather.

I vote for catering or going out, but if you want to cook for your parents, go for it.

Thanksgiving is actually a very easy meal to prepare. For me, taking the gizzards out and stuffing the bird are the hardest part, but problem solved if you just cook a breast. Mashed potatoes can be done in advance and warmed up in a casserole dish. If you like Stove Top stuffing, I'm guessing you probably like canned cranberry sauce. Greenbean casserole also involves opening cans (Campbell's cream of mushroom, French's fried onions, and a can of greenbeans) and baking it in a casserole. Gravy can be made in the roasting pan with the drippings, some hot water and flour. Easy as pie. Pie can be bought at a bakery.

by Anonymousreply 1411/12/2012

OP, one year my mom had had surgery and we got a a turkey dinner from a grocery store. It was good too. I added some better desserts because store bought pies are never as good as homemade or from a nice bakery but the turkey and stuffing was moist.

by Anonymousreply 1511/12/2012

OP, the way I see it, it's just a few hours out of your day once a year, right? So you have a choice. Take your mother out to eat, and treat if you can. Come up with some reasonable alternatives to Golden Corral.Is it a buffet that attracts your mother, or the "ambiance" (!) or the pricesThere must be comparables around.

Cook Thanksgiving dinner yourself. And honestly, don't cook things because that's what you always have, cook things you will genuinely enjoy.

I'd opt for a turkey breast and figure 5 oz per serving, that should tell you how large to buy. I'm guessing you'll be fine with a 6-8 lb breast. Cook it a day or two in advance. Cook your stuffing separate.

Roasting a turkey or turkewy breast is easy. If you buy one that's frozen, let it thaw in the frige for two or three days before you cook it. Rinse it off in a pot of cold water, pat it dry with toweling, and put in a roasting pan or a square metal baking dish that's about 3-4 inches deep.

Then just follow the instructions for seasoning it in any recipe you chose to follow. It'll probably take about 3.5 hours to roast in a 350 degree oven. You'll loosely cover it with tinfoil, and check it a couple of times near the end to baste it.

Side dishes are easy. Make your own stuffing on Thanksgiving day.Time it to come out of the oven about 30-45 minutes before you eat. Go to the Deli of the local supermarket, or restaurant,and get veggies, potatoes, squash, etc. Go to a nice local bakery for your dessert. Those are always the best.

This might be fun. Let your sister "fix a plate" for your parents. But you humor your mother and either invite her over, or take her out.

by Anonymousreply 1611/12/2012

The only thing you need to cook on Thanksgiving is the turkey. Everything else you can cook ahead of time and heat it up the day of.

by Anonymousreply 1711/12/2012

Microwaving food is gross. Carrots with sugar sound like a recipe for vomit. We really have some disgusting cooks on here.

You don't have to do a turkey at all. This is a celebration of the harvest, not a day to eat turkey. If you do one, do it the day of...what people love is the smell, not the actual bird.

by Anonymousreply 1811/12/2012

There's a huge difference between cooking food in a microwave and microwaving food that you've already cooked on stove and in the oven just to re-heat it for dinner. A fully cooked turkey breast will not dry out by re-heating in the microwave for two or three minutes.

by Anonymousreply 1911/12/2012

Exactly, r17! I make my sides ( except the mashed potatoes ) a day or 2 ahead of time. I've been known to bake the pies a couple weeks before hand and freeze them, taking them out of the freezer 1-2 days before. In fact, I'm going to bake my pies this weekend--making my home smell yummy!

A turkey breast is sooooo easy to cook, OP! I rub it down with butter--NOT margarine!--and season lightly with sea salt and ground pepper. I just bake at 325 for about 2--2 1/2 hours,breast side up, so that it stays juicy, let it sit for about 30 minutes before I carve it.

Use corn starch as thickener for your gravy. It adds a lovely gloss to it's appearance and there's no lumps.

Golden Corral? Oh, honey---there ARE other options!

by Anonymousreply 2011/12/2012

This all sounds so trashy. Please have a look at my website

by Anonymousreply 2111/12/2012

Corn in the US is a largely GMO product. Avoid corn starch.

Use tapioca or a hard wheat flour and make a roux.

by Anonymousreply 2211/12/2012

Marie Calandars makes a fine pick-up Thanksgiving dinner. You must order in advance.

by Anonymousreply 2311/12/2012

For something different OP you could try and order a fried turkey. Down here there are always people doing them up for T-day.

by Anonymousreply 2411/12/2012

Marie Calenders is a west coast chain. Not everyone lives near you.

by Anonymousreply 2511/12/2012

Hotels have Thanksgiving buffets. Surely there are some restaurants in your area that are serving tranditional hoilday meals?

by Anonymousreply 2611/12/2012

I usually buy sides at Costco. They have an amazing au gratin potato dish, cranberries, stuffing, pie...really everything you need. I roast the turkey myself (easy) and I'm done. It saves hours in the kitchen, and honestly ends up costing about the same. I don't like eating out on thanksgiving because i love having leftover turkey and cranberry sauce for a couple of days.

by Anonymousreply 2711/12/2012

People who use microwaves know nothing about cooking.

by Anonymousreply 2811/12/2012

[quote]Microwaving food is gross. Carrots with sugar sound like a recipe for vomit. We really have some disgusting cooks on here.

Cooking sides a day or two before Thanksgiving and then warming them up in the oven the day of ≠ cooking food in the microwave. If you don't have a big family with lots of hands to help, it's what you have to do for a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner. I'd be really surprised if you or your family have never done something similar, unless your Thanksgiving celebrations are extremely small or your food is extremely simple and plain.

by Anonymousreply 2911/12/2012

A lot of grocery store chains have a complete Thanksgiving dinner that you can buy, and just re-heat and eat !

by Anonymousreply 3011/12/2012

Who are these adults that find cooking a turkey such an exotic event? I'd be more annoyed that I had to make sure my place was "guest ready."

You basically just put the bird in the oven for a set time - you can google it in a million places - and you are done!

If you want to stuff it (there's your 2nd dish) then buy a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing and read the directions. It's good and easy to make.

You don't need candied anything Yuk. Simple asparagus (which can be microwaved) and a potato dish gives you now 4 side dishes.

The thing you may have a problem with is the gravy. I'll tell you how to easily make it below. When I'm through venting.

Stop being such a drama queen over a fucking bird. Even if you blow it no one will be so rude as to tell you. Haven't you ever faked loving a meal? Well, they will too.

Here's my tip: wherever it calls for liquid like in the gravy and stuffing assembly use a light fruit flavored wine - like light Zinfandel. Your place will smell delicious, it tastes delicious but the alcohol will be cooked away.

Basting: Take bird out of oven to be on the safe side. I use butter to baste the bird for the first few basting sessions - you can melt it in the microwave or just fork a big pat of butter all over the surface of the bird careful not to prick the skin. As drippings and fluids accummulate in the pan you gan use that to baste it for later basting sessions. I baste every half hour or so.

Aluminum foil tented over turkey - I only put one on toward the end if I am concerned the skin is done and I don't want it burned. But I have successfully cooked turkey without ever using one.

Gravy: Take bird out of pan - set aside. Put about a cup of liquid in the pan (I use the wine) and scrape ALL the drippings in the pan from the bottom and sides of the pan. Stir it all. Leave them ALL in the pan. This is the tricky part since you'll have to use your eye and common sense - sprinkle some flour in the pan (maybe 1 tablespoon or less to start) and stir with a fork breaking up any flour clumps. The gravy should thicken as you stir it. Taste it. If it needs more liquid because it's too thick or needs more flour because it's too thin then add wine or flour accordingly. But in small amounts. Be careful not to add too much of anything or you may loose the turkey flavor.

Seriously, OP - the turkey dinner is easy and the hard part is timing it and coordinating the prep.

Plan ahead and time your preparation. Work back from dinner time. Figure out the cooking time - online everywhere & the pop-up in butterballs etc is helpful but you still have to figure out the time. Make sure you read the correct cooking time table depending on stuffed or unstuffed. It takes about a half hour to wash the turkey and make the stuffing and stuff the bird so include that time when timing your day.

Wash everything as you do it. There is plenty of down time cooking a turkey. But your home will smell delicious as you cook.

The asparagus in the microwave take about 2 - 3 minutes. Potato dish depends but microwave potatoes work perfectly well especially if you're just making mashed potatoes. There are some brands of instant mashed potatoes I was delighted to find are excellent and take minutes to pop in the microwave.

Make sure you have lots of butter (basting, stuffing, potatoes, etc).

I'd use the days before to get your place ready for guests - vacuum, clean bathroom, put extra towels, hand soap, TP, within easy access to users. Check the dishes and utensils you plan to use for cooking, serving & eating. You don't need surprises on Turkey Day. Clean up and remove junk & things you don't need comments on from entertainment area. Have dvds and/or music set up to use. Does your mom have favorite music or movie? Maybe some games in a convenient location in case there is a wait and no one is good at conversations - it is family after all.

Clean your computer of history or anything you don't want others to see. People get snoopy.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

by Anonymousreply 3111/12/2012

The last time I visited my folks for T'day, my mom did the whole meal from Trader Joe's offerings.

by Anonymousreply 3211/12/2012

You must make one helluva guest, R31.

by Anonymousreply 3311/12/2012

I agree with R31. It's actually an easy meal to prepare. I hate candied shit so I stick with potatoes/gravy, stuffing, asparagus/or green beans, sauteed or steamed, but not that disgusting casserole thing. Dinner rolls can be bought frozen and cranberry sauce is a cinch to make.

by Anonymousreply 3411/12/2012

OP, you can do this, especially with many of the tips already given. I was in your position once years ago, so I sat down and figured out how much time each side would take (I had a nice sized oven, so they all fit in at the same time and were mostly cooked at the same temp) and assembled them earlier in the day(didn't take long, especially the green bean casserole). The turkey has to sit for awhile after it's cooked and before you slice, so the side dishes can be in the oven then while it cools and then you are slicing. If you're only doing a breast, then you can let it sit, slice it and then cover the platter or pan tightly with alum. foil to keep it warm while you wait for the other dishes to finish. You can always give it a quick nuke or put back in a low temp oven to keep it warm.

Cranberry sauce is so easy...just sugar and water and cook until the berries pop. You can cook this days in advance and it's so much better than the canned stuff.

Don't forget to get some nice dinner rolls. They don't take long to warm up. If you're not fussy, just buy your gravy in a jar and warm it up because gravy is what will drive you crazy if you are not an experienced cook and try to make it from scratch. I've seen many a melt-down at various family dinners because everything was ready to eat but the hostess was pulling her hair out over the gravy.

by Anonymousreply 3511/12/2012

R22, wheat is a GMO product.

by Anonymousreply 3611/12/2012

Gravy is actually easier than most people make it out to be. I make a paste out of flour and water, stir til smooth, than add to drippings. Low heat and stir. Always comes out great. My mom taught me and I've never had a problem with it.

by Anonymousreply 3711/12/2012

I use the potato water for the gravy. My trick to get it lump free is to put the pan on a medium hot burner and whisk in the flour and water.

Yes, rolls are definitely key. I remember the protest and cries of anguish the year there were no rolls because my sister in law decided the meal was too carb-heavy and no one needed rolls.

by Anonymousreply 3811/12/2012

We had one of those years too R38. No rolls did not go over well. I think Thanksgiving is just one of those days you must accept will be a total carb fest and you will need a nap in the afternoon.

by Anonymousreply 3911/12/2012

R38, yea I never serve rolls either. The stuffing and potatoes are heavy enough. I also always forget to put them in the oven. LOL!

by Anonymousreply 4011/12/2012

Just pull out that ping pong table and keep going!

by Anonymousreply 4111/12/2012

R36 I specified hard wheat. American soft wheat is a GMO product, hard wheat is not.

Be wary of Peppridge Farm stuffing mix, It contains both HFCS and hydrogenated fat. Horrid stuff. I have been told Trader Joes' sells a better one.

by Anonymousreply 4211/12/2012

I never serve rolls either, for the same reason as r40. We already have enough starches at the table. My nephew has a newly found gluten allergy, so this thanksgiving should be interesting. It is my turn to host.

by Anonymousreply 4311/12/2012

People like rolls. People expect to overindulge on Thanksgiving. I rarely eat bread anymore, but I'll be damned if I can't have a hot buttered roll to mop up the gravy at Thanksgiving. I always bring rolls now. Everyone loves me.

by Anonymousreply 4411/12/2012

Who serves rolls at home? That seems weird.

by Anonymousreply 4511/12/2012

[quote] Be wary of Peppridge Farm stuffing mix, It contains both HFCS and hydrogenated fat. Horrid stuff.

It's one meal. People will survive.

by Anonymousreply 4611/12/2012

Why R45? You've never had hot bread for dinners at home?

by Anonymousreply 4711/12/2012

You are getting all this superfluous advice for one meal for a bunch of pissed off Red Staters?

Why on earth would you want to do card tricks for dogs when giving them what they want is so much simpler?

There is NOTHING wrong with slopping them at Golden Coral.

And because Grandma wants to go, GO!

by Anonymousreply 4811/12/2012



Green beans,


Plain stuffing cubes,

Small box of Bells stuffing seasoning,

Onions, white or yellow



Store bought rolls

Pearl onions

Sweet pickles





Cranberry sauce.

Night before:

Defrost Turkey (started in advance) and remove innards. Boil innards on stove.

Add innards water to stuffing in large bowl.

Peel and cut potatoes. Refrigerate covered in water

Saute celery and onions in butter. Add that to the stuffing until proper texture is achieved. Refrigerate.

Set the table. Crucial to do the night before to avoid confusion the next day.

Day of. Get up early and stuff turkey, put small tabs of butter under turkey breast. Cover tips of wings and legs in aluminum foil. Put in oven and go back to bed.

Two hours later, Get up. Check on turkey and add some onions and celery stalks to the base of the turkey in the collecting juice. Baste turkey. Place aluminum foil on top of turkey.

Eat breakfast.

Go make mashed potatoes, don't take them out of the pot just put in fridge. Prepare green beans and corn in baking dishes.

Sip wine.

Put out pearl onions and sweet pickles in nice bowls. Refridgerate.

When the turkey is done, remove juice and separate the fat from the juice (any way you like) Toss caramelized onions and celery in garbage. Put green beans and corn in oven.

Make a corn starch and cold water slurry. Add to the defatted juice slowly constantly stirring on stove top. Sip wine while doing. Taste test. Maybe add a little wine. Salt. Check corn and green beans.

Now remove stuffing and place in bowl. Place in oven which has been turned down. Do the same with the mashed potatoes. And the green beans and corn. You're just keeping them warm. Set cranberry on table.

Greet guests. When all the guests have arrived enlist guests to place finished food on table. Have one make a pot of coffee. Have another pour beverages. Have another put rolls in oven and take out.


Serve coffee and pie.

Go to couches and chairs and rest while sipping wine.

by Anonymousreply 4911/12/2012

[quote]Who serves rolls at home? That seems weird.

Actually, you're the weird one. I've been to plenty of dinner parties and holiday meals where rolls are served. Whoever mentioned mopping up gravy was dead on.

WTF is with this place? The ODDEST people post here. "Rolls at home" are weird? Uhhhh...oKAY...

Remind me not to eat at your house. I can only fathom what else you think is weird. Utensils? Napkins? Beverages?

by Anonymousreply 5011/12/2012

Rolls?!?!? OH MY GOD!!!!


by Anonymousreply 5111/12/2012

OMG, OP. I just made this today and it was awesome. Add this to your TG menu for a veggie dish.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Lemon

So easy. Take fresh asparagus (wash and dry it), cut the "woody" bottom part off ---about 2". Line them up in a single layer in a foil covered baking pan. Drizzle with EVOO, then roll them around so all the stalks get completely coated in oil. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, kosher salt and parm cheese to taste. Roast @ 425 for about 10 mins. Remove to a serving platter and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

The parm creates a golden crunchy topping. Delish.

by Anonymousreply 5211/12/2012

People, people, no need to cut asparagus. You gently take the stalk and bend slightly. The stalk will break where the woody part meets the edible part. Just a gentle snap is all it needs.

by Anonymousreply 5311/12/2012

Oh. my. god. I forgot the CRANBERRY SAUCE!!

[quote] Whoever mentioned mopping up gravy was dead on.

My mother would have fainted at the sight.

by Anonymousreply 5411/12/2012

R53, why would you bend each individual stalk and break it off when you could cut the bottom part of the whole bunch all at once with a knife? It makes no sense to do it your way. And how is breaking off the bottom better for the baking/cooking anyway?

by Anonymousreply 5511/12/2012

I am with OP. The amount of food needed for well as the size of the turkey makes the process daunting. Maybe not if you cook at home but even the tips here seem easy to screw up.

by Anonymousreply 5611/12/2012

Just the way I learned R55. It's not that big a deal and is very quick. I can do whole bunches of asparagus in under a minute. It's kind of a pleasant chore actually.

by Anonymousreply 5711/12/2012

I like the bottom tips of my asparagus to be cut sharply, and at a proper angle.

by Anonymousreply 5811/12/2012

If you can read you can cook. If you don't have a good general cookbook like "The Joy of Cooking" at home then go out and get one or go to your public library. Cooking isn't as daunting as you may think, half the battle is just getting started in the kitchen and preparing what you'll need (that is, getting out the equipment, pots and pans, etc. plus all or most of the main ingredients) and remember the old saying "clean and clear as you go" will save alot of mess cleaning later on. I don't do Thanksgiving dinners, but used to help my mother in the kitchen when I lived at home; to my knowledge I think many of the turkies have instructions on the wrapping on how to cook them. I tried a tofurky one year and they are actually surprisingly good and take far less time and fuel to cook. Last year I made vegetarian chili--that is how "into" TG I am.......

by Anonymousreply 5911/12/2012

Unless you are a Republican, and are having the Thanksgiving meal at or after 8pm, rolls will be served. That includes bread plates and butter spreaders.

If, however, the meal is 8pm or later, tell cook how many courses and be done with it.

by Anonymousreply 6011/12/2012

Cooking a full dinner is easy if you plan well. As others have pointed out, do as much ahead of time as possible, including setting the table. I made a basic spreadsheet of what I needed for each dish, and put out all non- cold items the night before in the dish they would be prepared in (example: get out the dish you are making the green bean casserole in, and set the cans of green beans and soup, and the container of French fried onions as well. It means you don't have to go into the pantry so much the next day and gives you one last chance to verify you have everything you need). When everything is done early, the only thing you're left doing the day of is cooking 3 or 4 things.

by Anonymousreply 6111/12/2012

OP, if you ever roasted a chicken, you can cook a turkey.

The hardest part about cooking for Thanksgiving is the timing.

As others have suggested make some stuff like desserts ahead of time.

While the turkey is cooking do your prep work for the sides, get your table set, clean up as you go.

Pulling off several Thanksgivings for my friends when I was in my 20s and wasn't much of a cook, made me a lot more confident in the kitchen.

by Anonymousreply 6211/12/2012

Whatever you do don't serve that vile green bean casserole with the gross mushroom soup.

by Anonymousreply 6311/12/2012

[quote] what I needed for each dish, and put out all non- cold items the night before in the dish they would be prepared in

Ah the luxury of counterspace - REAL counterspace. It's the only thing that could tempt me out of my condo. A bigger kitchen with counterspace and enough cabinets so I don't have to use my dishwasher for storage.

by Anonymousreply 6411/12/2012

I made my first Thanksgiving/Turkey dinner from the first Silver Palate cookbook. It's SUPER easy and simple. The sausage/apple/sage stuffing, the bird, it's all there and I did this as a Freshman in college in NYC in a tiny apartment. I got a huge 22 lb bird and it barely fit in the tiny oven.

Just do it - you'll love it, and don't worry about timing everything.

Make sure the turkey is thawed or make sure you order a fresh one from a butcher.

by Anonymousreply 6511/12/2012

I bought an XL electric convection toaster oven to keep things warm and bake/roast stuff that there is no room for when you have a giant ass turkey in the oven. It's bigger than a regular toaster oven (has two levels) but much smaller than a conventional oven. I set it up in my laundry room with the serving dishes waiting next to it on the dryer. It's surprisingly efficient and resolves the stress of cramming everything in the oven that still needs to cook after the turkey comes out.

Check it out.

by Anonymousreply 6611/12/2012

Mashed potatoes are easy. Why use frozen?

by Anonymousreply 6711/12/2012

Trader joes has premise thanksgiving dinners

by Anonymousreply 6811/12/2012

A few suggestions: Start getting the house ready the week before. That would be now. You'll be surprised how one thing leads to another. Try to think of all the utensils you'll need like a baster, serving spoons, meat thermometer, roasting pan etc and things like foil and table linens. If you're actually going to cook it is a full day's job starting the day before and can be exhausting without any help so simplify, simplify. At our big dinners everyone brings a dish to pass. This helps immensely.

Make sure if you're cooking a bird that you give it ample time to thaw in the fridge never on the counter. Depending on the size, allow 3-4 days or more because you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days after thawed. Either this or buy a fresh bird which many stores carry over the holidays.

Make a simple centerpiece of a variety of good fresh fruit. Get your deserts at Baker's Square/Village Inn or local bakery.

If you check the web for turkey cooking instructions you will surprisingly find a lot of variations. The important thing is to keep the bird moist by coating with oil before roasting and/or basting. Make sure you allow enough time for the bird to cook. Turning up the heat to cook it faster results in a dry tough bird. Canned cranberry sauce is fine and fresh simply prepared veggies are healthier than the traditional vegetable/soup casseroles. Pass the rolls, please. Get them at the bakery too. There's no need for a first timer to make them from scratch.

If you've never done a bird before follow the directions on the package. Make sure you remove the innards that are packed inside the bird in 2 places. Then rinse and pat the bird dry inside and out.

by Anonymousreply 6911/12/2012

I think these responses are overall very nice to OP. I'm 50+ and have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner; too "afraid" (Mary!)

But OP, while I completely empathize with you about Golden Corral: your mother won't live forever. If she really wants to go there, maybe indulge? You only have one mother (I know; again: Mary!)

by Anonymousreply 7011/12/2012

Trust me, many of us have cookbooks and still mess things up. Few recipes from books ever came out right for me.

by Anonymousreply 7111/12/2012

Glazed carrots are fine, as long as they aren't drenched in the stuff. I loathe celery so stuffing/dressing is a minefield.

by Anonymousreply 7211/12/2012

Don't panic! Check out your local supermarket. Many these days sell the ENTIRE dinner cooked. Price usually depends on the number of people to be served. A customer places the order ahead of time (usually now) and pickes it up. I looked into it last year. Price wise, it was fairly priced. I ended up with a free turkey so I cooked it anyway. But, if I hadn't, I would have done the order an entire dinner thing. Thanksgiving is a time I'd rather NOT eat out, even if the food is less than perfect. Also, check out the sides available all ready to go in your local markets. Some of these are very good, and lightyears away from the frozen disasters of yesteryear.Pick up a pie or two (order early!!) and maybe some ice cream, and your all set!Or, ask a guest to bring the dessert? PS Stovetop stuffing is fine. Just cook, slam it in a serving bowl, and serve. Many options available to you in your area markets.

by Anonymousreply 7311/12/2012

I swear you posted this EXACT SAME THREAD last November, but without the Obama line.

by Anonymousreply 7411/12/2012

Don't be afraid to use gravy in a jar. It is very good these days. The stuff in the can is gross. If you want to save time and grief, bake the stuffing separate from the bird, or use Stovetop stuffing. Consider a meat other than turkey. Or, just go to Golden Corral if that is what Mom really wants. Why not? You only live once.

by Anonymousreply 7511/12/2012

If you are not going to make EVERYTHING from scratch, don't buy a pre-made dinner, just go to Golden Coral.

If you can't cook and feel bad about it, volunteer at a mission and wash pots for the needy.

by Anonymousreply 7611/12/2012

Costco. $149.00. Complete meal start to finish delivered frozen. Reviews positive.

by Anonymousreply 7711/12/2012

Costco menu.

A complete holiday dinner in under 2 hours! Our turkey dinner contains a minimum 14 lb. fully cooked turkey and all of the home-style sides and fix’ns to go with it, even dessert. This turkey feast includes sage seasoned cornbread stuffing with mushrooms, buttery crisp green beans with almonds and sautéed onions, maple glazed sweet potatoes, smooth mashed potatoes with garlic confit, silky turkey gravy, tangy cranberry orange sauce and a sweet cinnamon apple cobbler with strussel oat topping. This complete meal will easily feed 12 to 14 more guests and leave them with full bellies and big smiles. Spend less time in the kitchen preparing your meal and more time with your guests enjoying it.

Each dinner comes with:

Fully cooked turkey - min 14 lbs Fully cooked cornbread stuffing - 3lbs Fully cooked green beans - 3lbs Fully cooked sweet potatoes - 3lbs Fully cooked garlic mashed potatoes - 3lbs Fully cooked turkey gravy - 1.5lbs Cranberry Sauce 1lb Apple Cobbler 3lbs Total minimum net weight: 31.5 lbs.


by Anonymousreply 7811/12/2012

[quote]many of the turkies

Oh, DEAR. "Turkies"? Are you really this dumb?

by Anonymousreply 7911/12/2012

I agree R70, if she really likes it I'd do it.

OP, maybe you could have your main meal at the restaurant and have dessert and coffee at your home. Yes, I know they have desserts at the restaurant but you could forgo those since they're not that great anyway. But announce it before everyone eats.

Of course, there could be other things at play than mom liking the Golden Corral. Maybe mom just wants to make it easy for everyone and maybe the OP feels like it's his responsibility this year and would feel guilty not trying.

Holidays are so stressful.

by Anonymousreply 8011/12/2012

R53, break off one stalk of asparagus, then use it as your gauge to cut off all the others at one time. Violet.

by Anonymousreply 8111/12/2012

Snapping asparagus is almost as much fun as popping Bubblepak! My mom complains that I srve it "nearly raw" and too much quantity. My cousin was horrified that I dredge stalks in mayonnaise.

by Anonymousreply 8211/12/2012

R53, doesn't like to cut things. He also rips the turkey apart by hand.

by Anonymousreply 8311/12/2012

My mother and I were the asparagus addicts in our family. It was so bad that we would sometimes make a whole meal of asparagus. We counted and divided so we both got the same amount.

For Thanksgiving, I prefer perfectly roasted brussels sprouts. It's great that so few like them. More for me!

by Anonymousreply 8411/12/2012

I love roasted sprouts too -- with lemon butter sauce!

by Anonymousreply 8511/12/2012

Oh yes, R85.

by Anonymousreply 8611/12/2012

R48 is correct.

This thread is filled with lunatics. Someone who has no experience in the kitchen should not make Thanksgiving their first time at bat.

by Anonymousreply 8711/12/2012

But that takes all of the fun out of the thread. I was enjoying all of the OCD-level complicated instructions OP was getting. If he wants to learn to cook, this is not the time to do it.

by Anonymousreply 8811/12/2012

If you buy a frozen turkey, listen to the poster who said to all several days for it to defrost.

You break asparagus individually because they all have a different spot where they start to get woody. It's less important with thin asparagus but the thicker you go, the more you need to break each one.

Use a piece of buttered or oiled paper bag or parchment to cover the breast. It bastes and helps keep the breast from drying. Remove for the last 1/2 hour if you think it needs to brown more.

Use a meat thermometer and put into the thickest part of the breast (don't touch any bone) until it reaches 160F. Make sure you allow the turkey to rest covered loosely with foil for at least 15 minutes but no longer than 1/2 hour.

When you put the bird in the oven, make sure you have the breast side towards the door. The back of the oven is hotter so this will cook the thighs and legs more. The dark meat can stand the heat. Sounds silly but it works.

Brining is good if you have the time. Just make sure to dry it before roasting. If you brine, make sure it wasn't already injected with a sodium solution or it will be too salty. When in doubt, skip it.

It really isn't rocket science to time everything if you want to cook that day. Do whatever chopping and prepping that you can the night before. Figure out when your bird comes out, add the resting time and then figure out how early you have to start the sides.

by Anonymousreply 8911/12/2012

I just ate some Brussels sprouts that looked good but didn't taste like Brussels sprouts. They didn't smell the same while cooking either. I wonder what that was about. Now I'm worried.

by Anonymousreply 9011/12/2012

R89, I prefer buttered cheesecloth instead of parchment. I wouldn't use a paper bag because of the chemicals.

by Anonymousreply 9111/12/2012

[quote]Marie Calenders is a west coast chain. Not everyone lives near you.

And not everyone spells it that way:

[quote]Marie Callender’s began in 1948 in Orange County, California, as a wholesale outlet for selling pies to other restaurants. Eventually, Don Callender (who founded the business venture and named it after his mother), opened a retail outlet in Orange, California, gradually adding other food. ... Marie and her son Don lived in a trailer park off Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach. Marie baked and sold pies to augment the family's income, with Don delivering pies to customers on his bicycle. The business flourished until Don died from complications of a fall at his home. The company's history, of a woman in California baking pies for friends, then for restaurants, then opening a chain of restaurants, has a similarity to the novel and movie Mildred Pierce, which appeared years before the Callender story began.

by Anonymousreply 9211/12/2012

Don't cook dinner for 20 if there are only 3 of you. You don't need a million side dishes.

by Anonymousreply 9311/12/2012

I serve my turkey with barbeque sauce instead of gravy. Kind of trashy, but it works.

I also don't stuff inside the turkey. But make it as a seperate dish.

I do a great mac and cheese with is really nothing more than two cans of liquid cheese mixed with rotini pasta and topped with shredded parmesan and peas. It's always a big hit at my table.

I mash and mix my cranberry sauce with red jello. Delicious.

I fry some bacon and mix it in with my mashed potatoes. Plain just doesn't do it for me.

by Anonymousreply 9411/12/2012

For $150, including shipping, Costco will send you a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 12. Precooked. Frozen. Just thaw and reheat.

by Anonymousreply 9511/12/2012

Too funny, R94.

Do you serve Sara Lee frozen pumpkin pie for dessert?

by Anonymousreply 9611/12/2012

Be careful, OP. If you tackle this & do a good job, your family will expect the same from you every year, plus Xmas, Easter, etc., etc.

If I were you, I'd just accede to Mom's wishes & take her to Golden Corral -- you get points for humoring the old lady, without any false hopes for the future.

You're a single man -- no one expects you to be able to do anything beyond dressing yourself (if that). Take advantage of it!

by Anonymousreply 9711/12/2012

R94, your whole dinner sounds vile. BBQ sauce? From a bottle, right?

by Anonymousreply 9811/12/2012

Instead of microwaving the turkey to heat it, maybe he should wrap it very tightly in foil and throw it in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes? Maybe coat the inside of the foil with some butter to try to keep it moist. That might work...

Actually, most of the meal components can be reheated at the same time that way. That's what they would have done in the 50's or so when there were no microwaves in general use.

by Anonymousreply 9911/12/2012

r94= Rachel Ray

by Anonymousreply 10011/12/2012

R94 is joking right?

by Anonymousreply 10111/12/2012

OP you sound like a fat white trash person so just buy with all frozen

by Anonymousreply 10211/12/2012

I think I'm going to call a few places because I have to work till 230 am on Wed. A friend at work was telling about boiling a turkey breast in chicken broth and butter that sounded good...

by Anonymousreply 10311/13/2012

And a resturaunt is pretty much out of the question. My 80 year old father is unbearable in public and my wonderful mother's mental illness is not at its best right now (she will annoy me while I cook) she also needs a walker most of the time...

by Anonymousreply 10411/13/2012

OP, put her in a chair she can't get out of easily in front of the TV until you're ready to yank her up and walk her to her seat at the table. Get a DVD of some moldy old movie for her to watch.

by Anonymousreply 10511/13/2012

R103- I'd call them today or tomorrow. Many places have deadlines. I don't think you will be disappointed if you use catering from a grocery or restaurant.

by Anonymousreply 10611/13/2012

[quote]My 80 year old father is unbearable in public

Folks at Golden Corral won't even notice, he'll fit right in. Besides, he can't be any worse than some of the children that people take to restaurants, & he probably doesn't dart much.

by Anonymousreply 10711/13/2012

R107, lots of 80 y/o's don't have control of their bowels. You can always take a toddler into the bathroom and use the changing table. An elder adult would have to leave.

by Anonymousreply 10811/13/2012

[quote]I think I'm going to call a few places because I have to work till 230 am on Wed. A friend at work was telling about boiling a turkey breast in chicken broth and butter that sounded good...

That must be a variation of the turkey and butter crock pot thing. I tried it because a friend told me it was good and I was curious because it sounded horrible! Well I was right and I threw it out.

Roasting a turkey breast is very easy. You don't have to get fancy.

by Anonymousreply 10911/13/2012

Omg, I am cracking up at the visual of someone's turkey served on a table next to a bottle of BBQ sauce...and the mashed up jello/cranberry sides!

by Anonymousreply 11011/13/2012
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