Monday, November 20, 2017

Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

Jan here, with a post I can't believe I'm writing.

Here's what I expected to write: "I'm hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, and it's going to be so much fun!"


I'm hosting Thanksgiving...but it's going to be a bit different this year.

Why? Because my oven is broken.

What does that mean?
It means I get to be creative!!!

I'm one of those people who loves to do a big, traditional Thanksgiving meal. Everyone brings something to add to the meal, and I roast the turkey. And it IS a lot of fun.

So how am I going to do this without my oven?

Well, the first thing I had to do was back off from some of the items I always make.

Dinner rolls? Daughter Carrie is making them this year.

Vegetable casseroles? Daughter-in-law Katie is making one, and another guest is bringing his famous green bean casserole.

Salad? Another friend is supplying this part of the meal. (Thanks, Janet!)

Pies? A friend is bringing her favorite apple pie with real whipped cream (YUM!) and Carrie is making pumpkin cheese cake.
And what about the pumpkin pie??? My dear husband is bringing one from work...but remember, this won't be just any pumpkin pie. My husband has a very talented chef working for him, and he has been preparing the pumpkin filling for weeks. Hospital employees (or whoever) can buy one of his pies, and last year the sale was very successful. I've heard they're delicious, so now I get to find out!

But what about the turkey? The star of the day?

This is where the creativity comes in.

I'll roast the turkey in my big roaster on Wednesday. I've done that the last few years, ever since I bought the roaster on sale one time, thinking it would free up oven space. :) And the ham is already cooked - it only needs to be heated up. So on Thursday morning, I'll put two pans in the roaster - one with sliced turkey and one with sliced ham - and by dinner time they'll be hot and ready to eat.

Mashed potatoes? I'll use my "Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes" recipe. This recipe is delicious, and cooks in the crock pot, so no need to try to keep the potatoes hot in the oven.

Dressing? I've been using my crock pot for dressing for years, and you can do it, too. Use your favorite recipe and cook it on low, stirring once in awhile. If it starts getting dry, just moisten it with some turkey broth.

Gravy? Oooo....I don't know if I should let you in on my secret... I'll whisper it... I make turkey gravy, but also add commercial gravy from a jar. Let me tell you, this is a life- and time-saver. I make a batch of gravy (I use turkey drippings and chicken broth, thickened with flour), then add a jar or two of turkey gravy. We rarely run out of gravy, and I haven't spent hours making a huge batch of the delicious stuff. :)

So I think we'll be all right, even though the oven is on the fritz.

And by the next week, the new part should arrive and we'll be back to baking just in time for Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, we went hiking up in the Hills on Sunday afternoon with our daughter and son-in-law.

It's getting close to winter, especially at these higher elevations. Carrie found a perfect Christmas tree, but Josh wasn't convinced. It's still a couple weeks until the Great Christmas Tree Hunt of 2017, though.

Carrie and Josh, the Great Christmas Tree Hunt 2016
And while we were in the Hills, we saw snow! Not very much, but it was there. It's time to cozy up by the fire!

What are your Thanksgiving plans? I hope you have a blessed time planned with family and friends!


  1. Jan! I've used my roaster oven for turkeys, too, to free up oven space in the kitchen... and it works great, doesn't it? The Crock Pot for stuffing is brilliant, and I love that everyone is bringing stuff! We're doing that, too, and now my oldest son Matt and his wonderful wife host Thanksgiving on the Saturday after the real day. That way we don't have to run back and forth from house to house for families with kids.

    Christmas cookies... oh mylanta, I love Christmas cookies, Jan!!!! So happy right now, just thinking of it!

    1. That whirl of multiple Thanksgiving meals at multiple family homes is something we've never had (one of the downsides of moving so much), but I feel sorry for those who have to do it! Christmas is the same way.

      This year for the first time, we're going to do our extended family Christmas on New Year's, since Carrie and Josh will be at his family's for Christmas day. It's just the beginning!

      Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is still Thanksgiving and Christmas is still Christmas, and the celebrations are all good!

  2. Jan, that sounds like a perfect plan. I've actually ordered our dinner from Cracker Barrel this year! We've done it before while in Kentucky and really enjoyed it. Plus, we had more time to spend with family. So I decided to do it this year at my house. I'll be making some additions, but nothing very time consuming.

    I can't believe it's Thanksgiving week!! How did that happen so quickly?

    1. It sounds like you'll be doing very little cooking - but plenty of family time. :) And of course you'll be making a few additions. Cracker Barrel is good, but you want to include the family favorites!

      And I agree with you on how the time is flying. Last Monday (before I turned my book in!), Thanksgiving wasn't even on my mental radar.

  3. Well, aren't you the creative hostess? You've got it all covered.I'm impressed. And I have a question about the dressing. I have a vegetarian version (natch) that bakes in the oven and one of the things I love about it is the way it gets brown and crunchy on the top. Does crock pot dressing get that way? Or does it stay kind of soggy?

    I thought you were going to say you canceled Thanksgiving because of deadlines! Phew! Glad it's just your ornery stove...well, not glad, glad but you know what I mean.

    1. LOL! I know what you mean! I met my deadline with...oh...maybe an hour to spare! But the book is in, and I'm forgetting about it until I get the revision notes from my editor. Meanwhile, another book is in the works. :)

      The dressing doesn't get that crunchy top in the crock pot. It can get crunchy on the bottom if you set the crock pot too high and forget to stir it...but we don't want to go there!

      But even without the crunchy top, if I'm doing dressing for a crowd, the crock pot is the way to go!