Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's Household Assigments- Thanksgiving Checklist & Cranberry Sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! This week, it's time to prepare for Thursday.  Here are some suggestions to plan your week and have a successful Thanksgiving.
If you are not cooking dinner then you won't need all of these but it can still help you get ready. 
  • Plan your menu and write it down. Write down how long each item takes to cook and where it is cooked, stovetop, oven, and temps. I've already posted some of the recipes that I use for Sausage Stuffing/Dressing and an apple cranberry pecan version, Sweet Potatoes, and How to Brine your turkey.
  • Write out your shopping list based on your menu. Go through each menu item and make sure you have each ingredient. I set out the recipe and then pile all of the non-perishable ingredients with the recipe on the counter so that it's all together. 
  • Now plan out what you are going to do or make each day. For instance, your cranberry sauce can be made days ahead so it can be done Today. I make my Sweet Potatoes on Wednesday, my pies on Wednesday and part of my stuffing on Wednesday. This means I have far less to do on Thursday and it gives me more time with family and friends. 
  • Lastly- make a time schedule for Thursday. I figure out what time I want dinner and work backwards from that. So if the turkey takes 3 1/2 hours and we want to eat at 2pm then I need to start working with the turkey at 9:30 am. I will rinse the turkey, put a cut up onion, a quartered orange and some fresh sage into the bird. I will rub the skin with some butter and get it into the preheated oven by 10 am. It will bake for 3 1/2 hours and then it needs to sit covered for 30 minutes out of the oven before carving.  The green bean casserole takes 45 minutes so it needs to go into the oven by 1:15. Etc.  This helps make sure that all the items for dinner will be ready at the same time.
  • Do as much as you can before Thursday. I even set out the dishes and silverware onto the table on Wednesday. I put the serving bowls for each item with the serving utensils and a post it note on it so that I know what food will go into it.  The key is to think it all through and write it al down. I have the schedule typed up on my computer to use year after year.  Careful planning will help make your holiday stress free, at least from a cooking standpoint, I can't do anything about your family stress. 
As we were driving on Saturday I got a text message from my son with the picture below and he told me that he was making cranberry sauce. I of course asked where he was, I thought he was with my daughter and helping out. Turns out he was at his house making it all by himself for an early Thanksgiving dinner with some friends.   I'm was so impressed that he made it all by himself. I asked my son to send me a photo of the sauce in the serving bowl to post. He informed me that that that would be impossible because he didn't have a bowl. I found out that his house has no real dishes. He said that guy houses don't need dishes and that's what girl's houses are for. Girls have dishes, that's why guys date girls. I laughed so hard. Well here's his recipe for Orange Cinnamon Cranberry sauce and the recipe that I've used for years for Regular whole berry Cranberry sauce.

Regular Whole Berry Cranberry sauce. This is the version from the Ocean Spray package.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 (12-ounce) package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
  1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.
Makes 2 1/4 cups

 Tom's Orange Cinnamon Cranberry sauce

1 (12-ounce) package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 Cup of orange juice
1 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
the zest from half an orange. 
Place the washed cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks into a medium sauce pan. Add enough water to cover the berries. Bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and cool with the lid on. Once it has cooled, remove the cinnamon sticks and discard them. Serve. 
Doesn't it look good? 
I made it this afternoon and my mom made a batch of it as well. 

We both think that this cranberry sauce is absolutely delicious. She said that she tasted it periodically throughout cooking time and took the cinnamon stick out about halfway through so that the cinnamon taste didn't dominate. I love cinnamon so I left it in the whole time. Just keep testing it and pull the sticks out when it has the amount of cinnamon taste that you like. 

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that you have a wonderful time thanking God for the blessings in your life.


Menopausal New Mom said...

Oh my gosh, when I read all of these to-do lists, it makes me happy to be Canadian since I have already gone through all this last month when we celebrated Thanksgiving!

Jody said...

Ok... I have to admit whole cranberries make me gag so I use the standard standby can of jellied cranberry sauce MINUS chunks lol

blueviolet said...

I do the whole berry cranberry sauce too! I usually make it on Wednesday along with the pies.

It's getting exciting!

Holly said...

You are so organized..I love it. I used to be, and most of the time am for my holiday planning. That cranberry looks yummy. Now off to checkout your turkey brine!


PS-something for you at my place today.

yonca said...

I always wanted to try cranberry sauce. Thanks for this yummy recipe Margaret. I see the turkey down there:)I will check it out!
Thanks for stopping by.Yes, i will cook for thanksgiving and i
already posted my thanksgiving recipes :)

Gigi said...

Okay I DON'T cook so most of this post went right over my head (expcept for the organizational skill - awesome!) What totally caught my attention and made me laugh out loud was "He informed me that that that would be impossible because he didn't have a bowl. I found out that his house has no real dishes. He said that guy houses don't need dishes and that's what girl's houses are for. Girls have dishes, that's why guys date girls."

LOL, I can sooooo see mine saying something similar in the future!!!

BTW, your organizational skills ROCK!!!

Momma Such said...

Loving the look of your blog! :)

Oh the cranberry sauce looks SO yummy! Thanks for all of the great tips as well! I have so much to do to get ready for the holidays. I don't have a ton to make in one day (just bring a few dishes to each get together) but just getting it all done with all of the kids and hubby is a task..ha ha! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Margaret aka: Fact Woman said...

That head is huge. At least it wasn't in your bed. That would be intimidating.

kys said...

I did a whole cranberry sauce, too. I can't stand to see a can-shaped blob on the table. (But for years, I thought that was the only kind of cranberry sauce in the world.)