New me, new traditions. This year, I'm hosting a Thanksgiving friendsgiving for six to eight people and am already deep into the planning stages. I do this because I enjoy it, and when I plan in advance, it's not much more work than making our Sunday family dinner that we've settled into over time. I'll be using three crock pots and disposable cookware so I can enjoy the holiday rather than stress and sweat and clean and muss.
1. The turkey is purchased. A grocery store near here offers turkeys for $.69 per pound if you make a separate purchase of $30 ... before coupons. Time to cash in all those coupons for free stuff! So I bought an 18-pound bird because I LOVE leftover turkey.
2. I'm going to try spatchcocking my turkey this year. It seems legit - crispy skin, moist meat and less time in the oven.
3. Additionally, I'm going to brine my turkey in a cooler on my porch for 24 hours. It's cold enough here the meat will be fine, and it frees up room in the kitchen. So tomorrow, I'll unwrapped the thawed turkey, remove all the nasty parts and get it in the brine in an oven bag to reduce any mess or cross contamination concerns. Monday night, I'll remove it from the brine, then butcher it and salt the skin. The whole thing will go in the fridge until Thursday morning so the skin can dry out.
3. My sisters are each bringing a pie, which frees up the oven.
4. I'm going to chop veggies, make the brussel sprout salad with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and brown the sausage for the dressing and set the table Wednesday night.
5. Thursday morning, I'll start the mashed potatoes in one crock pot and the stuffing in another before heading out to run a half marathon. A girl's gotta run to eat. I'm using crock pot liners to keep the mess down.
6. When I get back, I'll start the cranberry sauce in my small crock pot, then get cleaned up.
7. We're having dinner at four, so I will likely nap and relax until 1, then get the turkey in the oven (in a disposable pan for clean up) and wrap up the rolls.
8. I want the turkey to come out of the oven by 3:30, then put the rolls and pies in the oven to warm. I'll mash the potatoes at this point, too.
9. Pour myself a glass of wine and carve the turkey at the very last minute.
10. I'm going to set up a buffet style serve-yourself deal on the kitchen pass through window so everyone can get what they want and the crock pots stay warm. I also have a warming tray, which I'll set the turkey and rolls on to stay warm.
11. Eat, drink, enjoy pie and get to bed to head out early for Miss Alyssa's big day! I'm going to miss my traditional Black Friday Waterfall Glen loop, but I can't wait to see my Ironman mate to say I do.