We’ve got our menu. We’ve made a shopping list. We’ve made a time line for when things are going to get cooked/baked/prepped etc. We know what pans we will be cooking in and serving in. Now it’s time to get the knives out, the cutting boards ready and the pot of coffee on because it’s ass-kicking time.
The night before we started the chaos, Sarah made a master “To-Do” list of what needed to be cooked, prepped, and cleaned. This was our “Day-Of-Bible”, which was our game plan to tackle the ridiculously large list we had.
So, we began the cooking with the turkey. I took it out of it’s brine (which we had it placed in for 24 hours and is a MUST if you want huge flavor) and placed it in the roasting pan. Next I made a simple dry rub of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano and dried rosemary. Into the oven it went. Here’s the finished product:
Look. At. That. Skin. If there is one thing I love about eating turkey, it is devouring that juicy, crunchy, too-good-to-be-true skin. *Chills*
While the turkey was cooking, I baked the pie crust, toasted the croutons for the stuffing, made the crust for the cheesecake bars and cut vegetables for the stuffing and green bean casserole. With so many things going into and out of the oven, and having longer cooking times, we pretty much rang up our electricity bill that day.
I also decided to save myself a little more time by blanching the green beans until they were just tender, not mushy. I hate mushy…anything!
The turkey finally finished and once it was out of the oven, I finished the pumpkin pie and caramel cheesecake bars.
Once that amazing turkey was completely rested, I sliced the turkey and separated out the meat from the bones. So what does one do with fresh turkey bones? MAKE FRESH STOCK. I put that bird carcass in a pot with some water, some spices and herbs and let that bad boy simmer for a solid hour.
At this point in the day, our kitchen was smelling like a food-lover’s paradise. The smoky smell of the bacon we cooked, the arousing scent of the turkey bones as they simmered away into a beautiful broth, the aroma of the pumpkin pie; the things we only dream about smelling all together.
After waiting impatiently for an hour for the stock to finish up, the gravy was the final thing on the food-prep list. We used apple cider in our gravy which gave it a nice sweet and savory flavor profile. Simply amazing.
As you can see, executing all of that in this small of a kitchen was a tough task. I had to constantly wash dishes. I repeatedly rinsed and reused the cutting board. I drank copious amounts of coffee. I paced back and forth while contemplating my next move. In the end, after having a pumpkin-pie-fail (half of the filling spilled all over the oven), cursing like a sailor, and expecting the worst, we were finally done cooking for the day.
Finally Saturday came. We blasted on the crock pots for both the loaded potato casserole and sweet potatoes (which saved us oven/stove space and time). We finished the stuffing, reheated the turkey, gravy and meatballs (which we made earlier that week). It all came together. I could finally take a breath, sit down, and relax.
Look at this spread. We used our desk from our office to form a buffet table to serve our family. Smart idea by the wife, I must say!
In the end, it all worked out.
The food came out on time, and looked great.
Nothing was ruined (for the most part) or forgotten.
Everything went as it should have because we were smart and planned ahead.
Is it hard to believe that all of this came out of our tiny kitchen? Yes.
Is anyone capable of doing this on their own? Yes.
Did I cut myself serving dessert? Yes. And bled a lot too.
But, it goes to show that you can, for sure, put out a beautiful, well-thought-out and delicious meal out of a small kitchen. It took a lot of work, patience (when I didn’t have any) and diligence. At the end of the day, my friends, the compliments, the look of “Oh my God, this is amazing!”, was more than worth it. Our guests couldn’t even tell that the turkey was cooked a day before.
Food always seems to taste better when you can share it with people.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Until next time, Happy Feasting!
(My lovely wife Sarah did all of the decorating, which you can see more of here.)