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  #1  
Old 09-11-2007, 03:27 PM
officepro4u officepro4u is offline
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Cooking for the In-laws...HELP!!

I volunteered to cook my very first Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws this year. My mother-in-law always cooks this yearly dinner (Christmas too) and she is an awesome cook.

I was feeling very confident one day and said that I could make it...yikes! Now, they are excited about not having to cook this year. They are counting on me! Double yikes!!

I am not a cook. I can cook from any recipe, I just can't come up with things. I am not creative in the kitchen. Maybe I can hire JanaBanana to come down and cook for me. LOL!

What I would like would be ideas and/or recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I really want to WOW them. My brother in-laws will be coming too!

We live in the Orlando, Florida area if that helps! We don't have to worry about snow or it being too cold.

Thank you in advance for any advice you have!!
Diana
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:34 PM
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for easy turkey cooking use the cooking bags
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:57 PM
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Amen on the cooking bag, sooooooooooo easy. Just remember to season the bird.

Also to make it easier you could make stuffing balls instead of stuffing the turkey and having to lace it up. You should be able to find a recipe for stuffing online, just google it.

Green Bean Casserole is always a favorite at my holiday table and soooooo easy.
butter a baking dish, drain 2 cans of french style green beans, add 1 can of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup milk,top with grated cheese (sharp) and crushed potato chips (I use the chips) or bread crumbs whichever you prefer. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes in oven or you can put it in the microwave, I have even used my crock pot for this dish. You can also add your own variations to this dish.

Above all just relax and enjoy the family company.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:00 PM
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make sure you find all the bits hidden in the bird
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:05 PM
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You can do this.

We always have a traditional menu in our family and it almost takes an act of congress to vary from it even a little.

Our menu

Turkey
stuffing/dressing
mashed potatoes
gravy
green bean casserole
Baked Beans
Cranberry sauce
burn and serve rolls

A variety of pies (pumpkin, chocolate, banana, etc.)

For the Turkey, the best advice I can give (and second or third to what other's have said) is to use a baking bag. The bird comes out juicy, tender and if you rub the bird all over on the outside with butter and put a few spoonfuls between the skin and the meat as well before roasting, it will have the most gorgeous golden brown color!

Mashed potatoes are easy enough. If you like them without lumps, cut your potatoes into smaller chunks before boiling and boil them until they're super soft. You can then whip them with some cream (or milk) and butter and they should be completely smooth (you can also use a kitchen mixer to help completely ensure that there are no lumps).

I have no real advice on the gravy because, well, I don't exactly *make* my gravy. It's more of a "buy a jar of homestyle turkey gravy" kind of a thing. Pour it into a pan and heat.

The green bean casserole is super easy. The recipe is on the back of the French's fried onions, follow that and you're good to go. Oh, and do get the French's brand, DH and I thought we'd save some $$ one year and bought the generic...it was a disaster, they tasted horrible!
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:57 PM
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MrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the treeMrsH you could wrap up and put under the tree
I would LOVE to cook for my in-laws.

Sweet potato casserole is always yummy. What does your mother-in-law usually make? Go to www.allrecipes.com and you can look up all kinds of recipes.

As for gravy...here's a recipe for YUMMY giblet gravy.

3 tablespoons turkey drippings
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups turkey stock
1/4 cup cooked turkey giblets, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat pan drippings in a large skillet over medium heat; gradually add flour and stir until golden brown.
2. Slowly whisk in turkey stock until blended and smooth. Stir in giblets, and season with sage, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.
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Last edited by MrsH; 09-13-2007 at 05:59 PM. Reason: made a boo boo
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:10 PM
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Stick with the traditionals similar to her meals. We always have:
Turkey & Dressing
Ham
green beans
mashed potatoes
sweet potato casserole
corn casserole
cranberry relish
desserts are anything from sweet potato pie to any kind of cake imaginable.
Stacybug
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:51 PM
MerrySouthernChristmas MerrySouthernChristmas is offline
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A) Traditional -

Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Cranberries
Pumpkin and Pecan Pie...

B) Not-So-Traditional
I once watched Rachel Ray do Thanksgiving and got a bunch of great ideas... but didn't use any because i'm a sucker for tradition. Maybe try foodnetwork.com?
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:53 PM
officepro4u officepro4u is offline
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Thank you guys for all your wonderful ideas! I am a traditional girl too, so a traditional dinner is perfect. I always make homemade pies for the holidays anyway. So, I've got that covered!

I guess I was just worried about impressing them! I bet they will like anything I make. They are wonderful in-laws and probably wouldn't say anything even if it was terrible! LOL

All ideas are still welcome!

Diana
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:47 PM
MerrySouthernChristmas MerrySouthernChristmas is offline
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how about doing a traditional dinner and then wow them with an different, but still thanksgiving-ish dessert... how about....

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Show: Paula's Home Cooking
Episode: Thanksgiving





2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.


(I did this last year and it was great!!!)
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