29 December 2011

a big meal for just us two

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't really like to cook all that much. And this pregnancy obviously hasn't helped. Most nights, B is lucky if there are two options on the table. It's usually an entree and some veggies from the freezer. Sometimes no veggies at all, just a cut-up apple.

But then I decided, at 35 weeks pregnant, that I could and would make Thanksgiving dinner.  Well, actually it was Christmas dinner, but it mostly resembled a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.  I didn't get too ambitious, but it was definitely a bigger meal than we've been eating lately!  The best part?  I didn't even call my mother for help.  Thus, fulfilling . . .

✔ 37. Cook Thanksgiving dinner with minimal help from my mother

Yes, I even busted out our wedding china!
The menu:
  • Roast chicken.  I decided this was more practical (and quicker) than a giant turkey.  One of my aunts had given us some homemade rosemary-garlic olive oil for Christmas.  I opened the present in the morning and decided it would be perfect for coating our chicken!  I then added a few extra herbs.  It came out so tender and delicious.  I mostly just followed the directions on the chicken's packaging and then basted it occasionally.  (My digital meat thermometer is awesome, by the way--it beeps when the meat is the correct temperature!)  Of course, we're still eating this bird 4 days later since it was still a lot of meat. Less cooking for me, so I don't mind one bit.
  • Stuffing (box mix).  I only like the stuff that comes out of the bird, so I froze the leftover dressing for later.
  • Buttermilk mashed potatoes.  Betty Crocker recipe.  I wish I had made more; these are always a fave of mine.
  • Rolls from a box mix.  Hawaiian sweet rolls, to be exact.  They didn't rise as much as they should have, but they were really good.  I had found this in my mom's pantry on a trip home (she lets me go "shopping" when I'm in town), and now I want to find another box so I can try again.
This was before they went into the oven, obviously.
  • Steamed broccoli.  I needed a green vegetable, what with all the starches running around.
  • Gravy.  This was my nemesis.  I almost forgot about it, too.  I have never actually made gravy before (to be honest, I don't generally like it) and was trying to follow Betty Crocker's recipe for Pan Gravy.  I usually do very well with Betty, and I would probably jump off a cliff if one of her recipes called for it, but this one just didn't make sense to me.  I read and re-read the thing at least 3 times.  I figured out we were going for a roux, but I was a bit rushed at this point and my roux never bubbled.  I added some liquid and tried to bring that to a boil and then everything separated on me.  It went to the table anyway because B was finished carving the bird.  The good news was that the gravy tasted amazing (and even I liked it!), but it was definitely nowhere close to the correct consistency.  I told B that it was "homestyle" gravy because I've decided you can get away with a lot of flubs if you just give it a pretty label.
  • Apple pie.  This is only the second time I've made it (see this post for the first).  I followed the same recipe (thanks again to Betty) and had the exact same problem with not being able to get the crust off my work surface.  Sigh.  I cursed at it a bit and then re-rolled it.  I decided on a lattice top so I wouldn't have to deal with that issue more than once.  I am so glad I decided to make my pie the previous day.  We just popped it in the oven for a bit (foil on top) on Christmas night and added some ice cream!

So my Christmas day was spent mostly in the kitchen.  I told B that I was so glad we have an open kitchen/dining/living room area, since otherwise I would have felt like a slave (and very lonely while B played on the Wii).  I think an open area like this will be a requirement for any future house we buy, since I don't like cooking enough to be content in one all by myself while fun stuff is going on in another room.

That was basically my "Thanksgiving in training," and if I ever do anything bigger, I better have some extra hands to help!

1 comment:

  1. Good job! We went with Honeybaked Ham Co for our Christmas dinner and just got a small section of ham and turkey. You should be so proud of yourself for doing a full dinner like that!